Tomorrow is my favorite holiday. I love the 4th of July even more than I love Thanksgiving, Passover, or my half birthday (it was last week if you were wondering).
There is something really special about July 4th.
It is so festive and fun. For me, growing up, it was always about community, family, fun, and gratitude. I think that is what makes it so special, the gratitude aspect. Arguably, my other favorite holidays (minus my half birthday) are also holidays of gratitude. But I like Independence Day the most.
I could go on and on for you about the long history of patriotism in my family. The love of country that was instilled in me since I was small. The fact that I sing patriotic songs as lullabies because I know those songs best. And perhaps one day, in a future post, I will. But today I just want to share my unabashed enthusiasm for my favorite day.
I am so grateful to be able to celebrate tomorrow. My parents will be in town (Mom said, “I know it is your favorite holiday and Dad and I just wanted to be with you to celebrate), and so will some other family. I am grateful for my family. My friends, cousins, Dad, uncles, and Gramps served our country, and many members of my family have chosen lives of service in some capacity or another. I am thankful for them, and for everyone I have met, and haven’t, who work and sacrifice to make my life, and the lives of others better.
I am thankful, even though I did not enjoy spending a week at the downtown criminal courthouse, to have jury duty. Yes you read that correctly, I am thankful for jury duty. I see it as a civic duty, it is my responsibility as a positively contributing member of society to participate in the judicial system when asked. It is right up there with voting. It is a privilege that, even when inconvenient, is part of the whole package. I am also incredibly glad to be able to vote. I remember the first ballot I cast. It was for the California gubernatorial recall (do the math). I was so absurdly excited, and I still get excited every time I vote. I love getting my sticker, I love watching the news as the polls close. Even the “little” elections are exciting to me. I totally geeked out with enthusiasm the first time I was in D.C. as a middle school student, and again as a high schooler, and again as an adult, and I don’t doubt I will again and again.
I could go on and on about all the little things I love and I am thankful for as a citizen of the United States. I think Dennis Prager said it well here, it is only a part of what I love, but I really appreciate the way he articulates the idea of the values that make this country great.
Tomorrow isn’t my favorite holiday just because I think America is an amazing country (which I do, not perfect but amazing nonetheless), or because I am thankful that I was born a citizen of America (which I am), it is also my favorite because it is such a happy day. How can it not be? If we are setting aside a day in the summer to be thankful and celebrate freedom, we should be happy. No one has the pressure of buying gifts for people. We get to hang out with people we love. It is often a great opportunity for pictures because people aren’t matching, but they typically coordinate well with each other. Clothing is often minimal and people smell like sunscreen and barbecue. The food is great. The sun doesn’t set until well into the evening. The fireworks are so beautiful. It is almost romantic in a way. I mean really, what’s not to love?
This year I will miss Brother waking me up by blasting Stars and Stripes Forever on the stereo. Dad wont have set up chairs to watch the parade, and as small town and kitschy as the parade is I LOVE it . Getting to sit on the sidewalk with friends and family, some of whom are from different political affiliations (gasp), and worse, are Giants fans (poor things), while we enjoy a day of celebration and gratitude is all part of the coming together as a community and nation that make it such a special day.
Celebrating the 4th of July is whatever you make it. I know for me this year, I will be once again thankful for my freedom and all that that entails; for my family and friends; and for the journey that I have taken since the last Independence Day, and the freedom to be on this crazy adventure.