To most of us, Independence Day is just a reason to celebrate the coming of summer, with the beautiful weather and fun activities that it brings. I, myself, will be having a great time with some out of town relatives as well as my own family, boating on a gorgeous lake, and watching fireworks displays with my wife and kids on the water.
I love the enjoyment part of it, as well as the majesty of all the American flags that are displayed on house fronts, lawns, and neighborhood streets. It’s hard not to feel patriotic with the images of the pride of America so prevalent.
The 4th of July has always been a big deal with my family. My parents, in the past, threw some fantastic parties to celebrate. We never celebrated our country’s independence, but did celebrate family and our friendships that were formed over the years. Our nation’s birthday was the opportune time to do so.
This date was also the moment when my grandparents’ love for the New York Yankees was cemented, watching pitcher Dave Righetti pitch a thrilling no-hitter to the archrival Boston Red Sox on Independence Day of 1983. From that day forward, they were ardent Yankee fans, always following the team’s games on TV and radio.
I think my grandparents, as well as the rest of the old school members of my family, appreciated the 4th of July more than anyone. Yes, they loved having a hot dog and a beer, and socializing at a picnic or a party. But for them, it was something more. They realized the magnitude of the holiday, and how lucky there were to be here in America.
They kept in perspective the struggles they faced when they first came here, but they also saw their opportunities that living in the USA afforded them. And they took full advantage. My grandmother’s family got off the boat here speaking little English, almost certainly destined for a life of consistent hardship. They ended up owning and operating not one, but two, successful restaurants.
Happy Birthday America, and thank you for the good fortune and unlimited opportunity you give. To all of us!