Tag: 4th of July

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I hope everybody enjoys their up coming 4th of July / Independence Day holiday.  We will most likely have only a few more like these.  Congress has recently created / raised a little-known regional holiday to national federal status.  This new holiday is designed to celebrate and focus our nation of all critical race issues […]

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‘Is It the 4th Yet?’

 

Four years ago, my Mom passed away and I think about her last weeks with us every year at this time. She had been going downhill for six months or so, and for the last month, she was in the hospital’s CCU for three weeks, then a regular hospital room for two weeks. I guess when you’re 91, a lot of things go downhill fast. But hey, she grew up in and lived through the Great Depression and WWII, was a fantastic dancer and loved to sing, married and raised a family, and loved her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, so she’d had a great life.

Every day we’d visit her, and she always had the same question; “Is it the 4th of July yet?” We’d say “no Mom, it’s only June (whatever), the 4th is next month.” It was touch and go for a while in the CCU, but she finally stabilized and got into a regular room for a couple of weeks. Still the same question, “Is it the 4th yet?”

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In my earliest memories of celebrating this day this poem sung to this music has always stopped me in my tracks until finished. These are two of my favorites to get the celebration going. Now make some noise, drink reasonably, and embrace the freedoms bestowed on us this blessed day!!  Please share your favorites. Preview […]

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Understanding: Declarations and Independence

 

How should we understand the 4th of July? How does it mark independence, and why did a declaration matter? The document speaks for itself on the last question, and this is worth our reflection in our own day, with talk again of regional alienation.

The 4th of July was the date in 1776 on which prominent representatives, from the 13 American colonies, put their signatures to a document proclaiming formal independence from the British Empire. However, if we paid attention to the combined holiday on June 14, Flag Day and the Army Birthday, the colonies had already been at war with the motherland for a year. Victory, recognition by the Empire, was years away and not on the 4th of July. So, on July 4, 1776, was “independence” as an aspiration, not yet realized.

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I didn’t leave my house today until the late afternoon. I was busy cleaning out drawers, and closets, and packing up items to drop off at a thrift store. This is how I spend my summers: house cleaning and organizing because I have so little energy or time left in a day during the school […]

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Raised an Expat, Became a Patriot

 

I was raised as an expatriate in the Philippines. But for some reason we never used the term Expatriate. Maybe that’s because my parents are evangelical missionaries of the Baptistic persuasion. All our self characterizations were based in theological categories. Terms like expat were reserved for retired britishers who were making their quid fly a bit further by retiring in Asia.

But we certainly were not migrants or immigrants. Whatever our official legal status was in the good ol PI we were for all practical purposes expats. We were Americans living in a foreign country. We made no attempt to become Filipino, and we certainly were not there to make money. Our family consciously maintained an American identity. And this is not at all rare for evangelical missionaries. Paul’s idea that “apostles” (literally sent ones) should become all things to all men has very literal traction in the foreign Missions community. They give it lip service all the time but rarely is it evident in their lives.

This is especially easy to do in the Philippines. For one thing there are something like 70+ dialects spoken throughout the archipelago. Also the PI occupies an area of land that is similar to the Levant because it is both a hub and crossroads. This translates to a wide variety of “racial” and social distinctions. The upshot is Filipinos are very good at getting along with others. Despite being a majority catholic nation they are a melting pot’s melting pot. So expats face virtually no obstacles living there.

Independence Day

 

July 4th has always been pretty special at our house.

My dad’s family bought land from William Penn’s agent, spending three generations in County Armagh after leaving England because their Quaker beliefs were not tolerated. They came when Pennsylvania was still a colony. Future generations included second, third, and fifth sons—sons who would have no good way to provide for their families in the old country. Here they had land, not always, but often.

As the nation prepares for its Fourth of July celebration, the question arises of where the Trump presidency fits in the mosaic of American leadership. David M. Kennedy, a Stanford University historian and Pulitzer Prize winner, discusses the current state of the Republic and whether Donald Trump is the second coming of Andrew Jackson, as Trump would have us believe, or similar to a more recent Oval Office occupant.

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The Great Fireworks Show of 1995

 

fireworksIt all started near the end of our senior year of high school — the unofficial Senior Skip Day, to be precise. My best friend and I took off for a bit of joyriding in the Mohican Valley in his overhauled pumpkin orange ’78 Chevy pickup on a beautiful and sunny Tuesday morning in late May.

Graduation was just two weeks off, we had some cash set aside, and so when not scaring old Volvo station wagons as we slid and bounced through the twists and turns of the gravel roads, we aimed for a little fireworks shop you could pass a hundred times without knowing it was there. We signed the “liar’s form,” dropped our cash, and walked out with some packs of saturn missiles, some mini mortars, a six-pack of Black Cat shells, and some fountains, then pointed the nose of the truck towards the cabin and set about trying to get airborne on some of the humps and crossroads. We may also have braced one of the mortars against the truck door and aimed it in the general direction of some cows.

So began our love affair with fireworks. We used some of the goodies at graduation parties (although we had to abort at my friend’s party because a police chopper dropped a spotlight on us before we could start — he lived in the city), and fired the rest off the night of the fourth. My parents lived out in the country, so my dad (himself a fireworks devotee) let us light ’em up after dark. The Black Cat shells were particularly impressive, giving us multi-colored star bursts and aerial crackling. We wanted more, but August had us going our separate ways to different colleges. Still, we agreed to put some money aside for a more impressive show come New Year’s. While watching the stars and screamers burst over the snowy fields, my father made us an offer: He would sponsor us to put on the show to end all shows on July 4.

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  If you are celebrating the birth of freedom, with flags flying, grills sizzling, watching a parade, waving your sparklers, or just quietly contemplating our fundamental liberties that we sometimes take for granted, please review these stories. It is a time of growing uneasiness and lest you think it’s just you, it’s not. Everything is […]

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Happy Birthday, Lady Liberty!  At 239 years, you don’t look a day over 70.  What’s that you say?  You’re not feeling well inside?  Well, I can’t blame you.  I told you that fundamental transformation operation you had was unnecessary surgery.  The “Hope and Change” operation has never lived up to its name.  Too bad you […]

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Firecrackers!

 

tankAre fireworks allowed in your area? If so, which did you enjoy this New Year’s? Which were disappointments that you wish you’d burned before you payed for them?

What fireworks of yesteryear earned their places in Valhalla? Have you forgiven your parents yet for black snakes? Is your closet full of poppers and candy cigarettes?

Speak now or forever hold your powder!