Thursday, July 4, 2013


4th of July to do list:
  1. Deck the halls with red, white and blue
  2. Go to a parade
  3. Shout “AMERICA!” a lot - My son Peter loves to do this.
  4. Eat food cooked on the grill
  5. Listen to patriotic music
  6. Put on bug repellent
  7. Go watch the fireworks
  8. Play with sparklers

I’m sure there could be many more things to add to this list but one thing missing is the “Why.”  What is it about the check list of  traditions we create for holidays that allows us to sometimes forget why we are celebrating?   The day off work is a good reason.  The delicious food at a cookout and the beauty of fireworks are great too.  But we need to get back to the why.

America was founded on the principle that freedom, above everything else, is our right.  Men and women fought in hand to hand combat against their enemies to insure that we could be a free nation.   The fireworks were real explosions.  Fear was everywhere, but as victory became apparent celebrations began. The first 4th of July wasn't about picnics and bug spray.  It was a celebration full of gratitude and relief.  The war was over and freedom reigned, just read the ending verses to “The Star Spangled Banner.”

I've allowed myself to get caught up in the tasks of holidays, forgetting their actual meanings.  So this Fourth of July I’m going to reflect on the words of the patriot songs and create art that reflects importance of this holiday.  I’m not sure yet what this art will look like but here’s how I’m going to start:

  1. Set a Pandora Station to Patriotic Music
  2. Hang a flag so it waves in the breeze - or in the fan if I’m stuck indoors because of rain.
  3. Pull out markers, paint, brushes and paper and get to work. I’ll probably start with a line drawing of the flag, add lots of stars and red, white and blue!

Look soon for my 4th of July Creation.

My Flag 

The Star Spangled Banner

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


  1. I'm celebrating with you, Karen. Thanks for reminding us of what today is really about. God bless America.

  2. Absolutely wonderful post! I love your proile biography, and I love the fact that you wrote the Star Spangled Banner lyrics that so many kids don't know! I am following you from the Ultimate Blog Challenge. And I am happily following your blog.