Friday, July 3, 2009
God Bless America
One of my all-time favorite holidays is tomorrow. Independence Day. I LOVE being able to honor those who have sacrificed and who are sacrificing to keep our freedom alive and to keep the pride and hope that America possesses. I LOVE seeing our flag blow freely in the wind.
Growing up, we always had the Hanks reunion (my mom's side) on the 4th of July. We would wake up early and walk to the church for the annual breakfast and flag raising. Dad was usually always participating in this. It was really fun to hang with ward members and eat a good pancake, egg and sausage breakfast. Then it was off to the reservoir as fast as we could get there. It was a blast. We went boating all day with all of the relatives. It was so much fun! My cousin David and I still hold the record for getting the most air off a wave while on the tube. We had time, mid-air, to look at eachother in shock, laugh and then fall into the water. There was always a ton of yummy food and always entertaining conversations going on at the beach. I am close to all of my relatives on that side of the family, so it was fun to just be surrounded with so many great people that I feel so close to. Without fail, at least 1/3 of the family would get burned so badly that it took days to be able to move properly. Getting fried crisp almost became a tradition in itself.
Everyone would then go back to my house and have some games and talk about family stuff. Pizza was always for dinner. Then we all took off to my cousins house to watch the fireworks from their roof. Someone always got hurt getting off the roof, but we always did it anyway. We would all then come back to my house and my brother Tyler, and his sidekick, Scott would unload enormous amounts of fireworks from their "secret places." We would stay up all hours of the morning blowing everything up and sometimes catching a tree or two on fire. A few years ago, I accidentally shot a roman candle the wrong way, and about hit my dad who was standing behind me. I never knew he could dance like that. I think that was the same year we hit the house with the bottle rocket, or maybe that was the year we caught the field on fire.
Oh man, good times.
Now that we are away from home, we have tried to establish our own traditions. I am ALWAYS very homesick on this holiday, but we do have fun here, with our own little family. We try to make the 4th as All-American as you can get. Last year it was swimming and a baseball game with hot dogs and fireworks. Aside from Mary falling into and almost drowning in the pool, and scaring us all to death, it was a great holiday. My cousin David was able to be with us, and it made it fun to have some family with us.
This year we will be camping. Another favorite thing in our family. We are leaving in a few hours. Tomorrow we will head to the Air Force Academy for fireworks accompanied by the orchestra. Of course, Pizza is on the menu. Fireworks from home are illegal here in the Springs, major bummer, but I am sure we can figure something out. ;)
We are keeping it a little low-key, due to everything going on, but it should still be fun. It will be so nice to get out in the mountains with the "good neighbors" and try to just relax and let some stress go for a few days. We all need a really good does of some relaxation and stress-free time.
I admit, that my usual out-of control urge to celebrate holiday's to the extreme, has been dampened due to lack of energy, and crazy emotions, but I really think this will do us all some good. I am sure I will have my spark back in time for Halloween..the beginning of some serious holiday/Birthday celebrating months.
It is so great to reflect on how blessed we really are to live in such a blessed land. A land that has not been made free to us without immense sacrifice and people acting above and beyond the call of duty. I will be forever grateful. Even though, my emotions are still on the surface and my spirit has been dampened, I still have a bright gleam of pride and hope when I think of this wondrous country I live in. God has blessed this country and he will continue to do so.
I am so grateful to be able to live in such a wondrous place, where I am free to choose and live as I please. A place where I can worship my God in any way I want to. A place where I can voice my opinion and vote for my leaders. A place where we can live our dreams and fulfill our goals. A place where I can raise my children to reach for the stars and become whoever they want to be. A blessed land.
God Bless America...Land That I Love.