Happy Fourth

Thursday, July 4, 2013
By George Hatcher

It is the Fourth of July.

Without naming names, I save a corner of my happiness for those countries in turmoil, and peoples of all nations and beliefs–I pray whatever their unhappiness is that it will pass, and they too will know some happiness in their own lifetime, in their own back yards.

Today, most of the USA will be grilling with friends and family.

Today we will share the heat, the plenty, the sunshine, the smoke, the food and the fireworks.

Today from sea to shining sea, we will celebrate our independence—another day, another precious year of this miracle of democracy in this land of unparalleled beauty and diversity. We may argue amongst ourselves, but I hope we can always remember, together, warts and all, we are beautiful. Our lives are the embodiment of a beautiful idea.

Today I will not think about the pundits who bring us bad news, and focus instead on the story of our country, the miracle that continues. As our lives inscribe another fourth of July into our own history books, let there be another unique page in our story.

This year, maybe we can invite a few more people to sit at our tables, so more of us can look forward to a well fed today, and a better, stronger, brighter future for our children.

Today we are still the United States of America, and this is our Independence day.

I have to reflect on my love of this holiday, but not too long because my family is waiting.

It’s not the flag waving, it’s what the flag represents.

I love this holiday because it celebrates our lives. It is a simple thing, really. America is families. Families in our parks, or in our own backyards. A hot dog, a hamburger, a chicken on every grill.

I love this holiday because this is where our kids play, where they grow strong and free, and spit watermelon seeds. I love this country because my children are free to argue their own opinions, not just about recycling and vegetarianism, but subjects like abortion and political theory. My children are free to be who they are. They are free to dream of who they can be. They are free to reach out and become the dream. Here sons and daughters can both play spontaneous games of touch football, or soccer or tennis or baseball, or compete in potato-sack races or lie on towels in the grass and stare up to count the leaves that twinkle in the sunlight, or the stars peeking out at dusk.

Tonight I will love this country even more when the babies that cried over fireworks last year will this year gaze at them in wonder.

Happy Birthday America from sea to shining sea. Have a happy fourth of July.

* all credit to whoever made this amazing photo found on the internet. You are an artist and an inspiration, whoever you are.

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