Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating Independence Day

I had promised a walk through the Botanical Garden today
in search of butterflies, but then I realized it is Independence Day,
or as more often referred to here in the U.S., the Fourth of July.
We celebrate that date here 
because on July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress
 adopted the Declaration of Independence,
an action assuring the American colonies' separation from the British crown
and the establishment of the United States, where "all men are created equal"
and entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

So how do we celebrate the Fourth of July in the U.S.?
It's all about patriotism and summer fun.
Buildings are bedecked with American flags;
red, white, and blue bunting floats on the breeze.

And there are barbecues and picnics.
Watermelon. Corn on the cob. Ice cream.
And usually some creative and industrious cook decorates a dessert
with blueberries, red strawberries, and white frosting or whipped cream
to symbolize the stars and stripes of the American flag.

There are baseball games
and concerts featuring the rousing composition "Stars and Stripes Forever"
and the other heart-pumping  music
of John Phillip Sousa, the March King.

People decorate themselves, their pets and bikes and wagons
and stage parades on city streets. 
And of course, there are fireworks.
It's not the Fourth without the sparkle of  fireworks,
brightly colored and loud,
booming and banging and soaring into the night sky
only to return to earth again in a magnificent shower of  shimmers and sparks.

That's been the way Independence Day
has been celebrated here for a very, very long time.
It's one huge birthday party,
and a privilege to be invited.

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