(Webster’s dictionary defines Patriotism as love for or devotion to one’s country)
The other night, my neighbor and I took a walk. It wasn’t like a normal walk though, because once a year we walk with about 100 American Flags and distribute them throughout the neighborhood. A few people know how the flags get to their front yard each year, but mostly it is anonymous. Since very few of my neighbors even know I write a blog, sharing this with you probably won’t blow our cover. We don’t do it for any kind of notoriety, or thanks. We do it out of remembrance and patriotism. My neighbor’s husband passed away four years ago this July 3. We all still miss him, but of course life does go on, despite loss and sadness. Two days before he died, we shared a conversation about how he always loved seeing all the small American flags that a local realty company would distribute every year throughout the neighborhood. He hoped to see it that year. But that was not to be. The day before he passed, I purchased as many flags as I could find and another neighbor and I walked and planted flags along the road. Unfortunately, our friend did not see them. Maybe he did, from another place. I don’t know because he passed away on July 3.
Now it is a tradition. One of us will purchase the flags and we decide when to take the walk. The other night was a cool summer evening and perfect for the annual flag sharing. The next morning, driving down the road, it takes my breath away to see the flags fluttering in the summer breeze. I remember why we do this and how much our country meant to our friend. He was a veteran, a patriot and a good man.
So, why do I share this with you? Maybe to inspire you to think about what it means to you to be a patriotic American. Share your love for our country. Tell your story to a young person. Display our country’s flag proudly. It’s good to live in America. Be proud. Be Patriotic.
If you don’t do anything to celebrate our country on July 4th, maybe this is the year to start a new tradition. The traditions help us cope when times are rough. This Fourth of July will be especially poignant for me. This is the first time we will not be celebrating my dad’s birthday with him. Dad left this world in January. The Fourth of July always included a birthday celebration for Dad. He, too, was a patriot. He loved sharing his birthday with his country. This year, when I gather with my family, it will be sad and joyful. We will share remembrances and stories. And tears. As I watch the parade, I will imagine watching my father as he would walk the route with his civic group, dressed in red, white and blue. And as we see the annual fireworks, I will send up a silent “Happy Birthday, Dad!”
Do you participate in an annual Fourth of July event? Share it with us in the comments here. Is there an annual picnic, parade, fireworks display that you never miss? I’d love to hear your story.