In our family, we love the Fourth of July. Our city has a wonderful parade, that our American Heritage Girls troop participates in each year (this year, we have a float!). We are proud to be Americans, enjoying so many freedoms in this wonderful country of ours.
Patriotism has become less than desirable these days in some circles, especially in non-military adults. For example, in a recent Washington Post travel article, the author talked about going back to Colonial Williamsburg, and how he felt uncomfortable with all the blatant patriotism on display (even though he admitted to loving the place as a child).
How we honor our country and celebrate our Independencesays a lot to our children about how they should treat the United States of America. If we pooh-pooh patriotism, our children will wonder why they should honor the flag. If we don’t make an effort to talk about our country’s history (the good and the bad), our children will grow up without a firm foundation in what it means to be an American. If we neglect to remind them—and ourselves—of the huge sacrifices our military men and women have made over the years for our freedom and the freedom of others around the world, our children will more easily take fore granted their own freedoms.
Image courtesy of Michael Elliott/
Here are some tips on how to celebrate July Fourth all year-round.
Fly the flag. Yes, some people have the flag as a permanent part of their outside décor, but keeping the flag for special days tells a different story, that the flag is part of how we honor our country. Flag flying days include June 14 (flag day), Memorial Day, July 4, and Veterans Day. Make sure you treat the flag respectfully and follow the U.S. Flag Code.
Honor veterans.Go beyond a simple, “Thank you for your service” to a military member in uniform. Make an effort to spend time with veterans and active service members. Stop by an American Legion post, get to know a local military family, and lay wreaths at Christmas as part of Wreaths Across America. Greet an Honor Flight of veterans or a Homecoming Flight of active duty service members.
Talk positively about America. Yes, there are things that need fixing in our country, but overall, we have enjoyed tremendous freedoms. Pepper your conversation with what’s great about Americato balance the discussion.
Encourage immigrants to become citizens. In our melting pot world, we have many opportunities to encounter immigrants. Often, these are our neighbors, our fellow churchgoers, and our children’s school friends. I well remember how excited our previous neighbors—originally from the Kurdish region of Iraq—were to receive their citizenship. We rejoiced with them in becoming Americans at last.
These are just a few ways we can honor our country. What are some ways your family celebrates the Fourth of July?
Until next time,