We celebrated 4th of July as most American did this week, with a family gathering, BBQ and fireworks at a local park. As always, it was a great day. This year was different: something new, something very special. I noticed something that I had not witnessed before.
In 4th of July’s past, we have gone to the park with family and watched fireworks. Usually there is music all around; this family listening to this, another listening to something else, a sort of jumbled musical mixture.
This year, local officials hired a company, Arts of South Florida to play a variety of music throughout the day with special events in between. However, when the fireworks began, they played a medley of Patriotic songs starting off with “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles and many other American songs. To say the least, the music along with the fireworks was very inspiring. Not just to me, but I noticed it in others as well. As I looked around me, people were feeling it. I saw people of all ages; young and old; and people of different nationalities; Americans, African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics of all types and even Middle Easterners. It is hard to explain how everyone was. They were quiet or at least talking softly among themselves during the songs. But when a song ended, everybody clapped, cheered and waved tiny flags that were given out earlier. The cheer from the crowd was almost louder than the fireworks themselves, but quieted when the next song began, listening intently to these great songs as the wondrous colors lit up the nighttime sky.
To me it felt as if everyone was feeling as I was, proud. Proud to be American as Lee Greenwood’s song proclaims; proud to be in this great country. All of us there at the park, united in this one moment; this moment of perhaps 25 minutes or so that we were all the same. There at that park in Miramar, Florida, feeling inspired and watching the nighttime skies light up to celebrate the birthday of our nation. I am sure the same feeling overcame everyone watching the fireworks in Atlanta, Chicago, and all across the country.
And in looking at those around me, the many different shades of people, it dawned on me that this is America is, a melting pot of different people and cultural, everyone making their life here in this country. That is what our founding fathers fought for; a country where everyone can pursue life, liberty and happiness. Free to live, pursue your religious beliefs, to raise children safe from oppression and other political woes and to have a chance to have happiness.
That evening I noticed that happiness. Or rather joy. A Joy you could see, apparent on the faces around me. Not the birthday, having fun joy but a relaxed, deep sense of contentment joy. Maybe it was just me and the way I was feeling. Or maybe it was the night, which was beautiful, a night free of mugginess and the perfect light breeze. Or maybe it is because after several years of worries, things are getting a bit better. People are more hopeful. The economy seems to be improving. The housing market’s slowly coming back. Whatever the reason, joy was there and for those brief short moments we were all joyous and content inspired and moved by the moment. What a blessing it was and what a blessing it is to be American!
God Bless America and all her people,