The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Houses adorned with American flags, citizens unabashed of wearing their nation’s colors, cookouts and fireworks. There’s no better holiday to celebrate in the dead of summer.
But the Fourth of July is about more than just burgers, sparklers, and dressing like Uncle Sam; It’s a way to recognize the independence of our great country. It’s a holiday centered around Patriotism and honor. In 1776, our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence thus granting the 13 British colonies the freedom from the British reign. With this freedom, came unimaginable firghts still appreciated today.
I’m proud to be an American. I don’t only support my country one day a year. I thank our service men and women for their duties. I cheer for my country during World Cups and Olympic Games. And I find no shame in knowing the words to our national anthem and glaring at those who do not remove their ball caps in respect. At the start of the Royal Family 10K race (at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2014), I teared up during the national anthem because, though it was an instrumental recording, the entire crowd of runners began singing the words.
My grandparents, Greek immigrants, always said that America is the best country. They narrowly escaped a life of communism and were greeted by Lady Liberty with open arms. With sweat, persistence, and hard work, they built an enviable life through entrepreneurship and lived out the American dream. It may not have been smooth sailing, but they created a life in America that would have been a complex fantasy had they stayed in Greece.
My Polish grandfather honorably served as a Marine in World War II. Back then, you didn’t agree to serve your country if you didn’t believe in the fight at hand. You chose to serve out of honor and respect, not for college tuition or entitlement. The military united my grandfather with his future wife, who was the sister of a Navy sailor. They were married for 60 something years and were the picture of an ideal American family. He built things with his own two hands and she was the queen of holiday feasts.
I grew up believing in America. Yes, I love Europe dearly, but I am an American. I don’t consider myself Greek as my last name suggests, or Polish as handed down on my mom’s side. Nor am I Greek-American/Polish-American. I am an American, plain and simple. I was born here, raised here, and I’m sure I’ll die here.
To this day, I’ve never missed a Fourth of July celebration whether it be grilling at my house or watching fireworks at Disney. Even eight years ago, when I had recently moved to Celebration, FL and knew no one in the area, I walked to the fireworks in the center of town to feel the buzz of the Red, White, and Blue. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town that appreciates community events, go out and be involved! The Celebration, er, celebration is one of my fondest memories- all seven years I attended..
Today, I sit at home alone on a rainy holiday. Thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Arthur, my plans have been canceled for the day; however, last night, my cousin and I were able to watch the fireworks display in downtown Needham since they always celebrate on July 3rd. I never understood why they did so, but this year I am grateful. Despite the gloomy predicament today, we were able to pay homage to America last night.
I still have a plan for the day even though I’m most likely not leaving the couch. I already performed my civic duty and completed my Scandal binge on Netflix. I bought some ribs and potatoes that I’ll cook for dinner, and I’m currently involved in an NCIS marathon on TV. Nothing says proud to be an American like being a couch potato… And yes, I’m wearing the colors of our flag in the form of sweatpants and a T-shirt.
If you’re impacted by inclement weather, you should consider watching the movie 1776. Mr. Feeny stars as John Adams in this musical extravaganza. Anything with Mr. Feeny is worth watching, because, well, he’s Mr. Feeny. Who doesn’t like to be reminded of Boy Meets World? But seriously, if you’re trapped in doors, broil some burgers and find something American to watch on TV. Maybe something educational? Take the time to learn something about our history.
If you’re lucky enough to be outside enjoying the day, then light up some sparklers for me! If I were in Boca, I’d still make my dad buy fire crackers so we could light them off in the backyard. You’re never too old to celebrate the birth of America.
Stay classy ‘Murica.
55. I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free. – God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood