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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

July 4 Celebrations

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July
Independence Day
A day that we celebrate a national holiday with food, family, and fireworks...

My husband and I met on a blind date 
to a 4th of July fireworks celebration in Springfield, Virginia. 
We married a year later on July 1, the Saturday before July 4th. 
Every year thereafter we almost always attended a fireworks display someplace.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire...Huntsville, Alabama...Hampton, New Hampshire 
San Diego, California...Arlington, Texas...San Francisco, California almost...
 For me, part of the celebration was celebrating our first date and wedding, 
and not only for celebrating the country in which we live.
 Celebrating things we hold dear...
family and freedom. 
★ ★ ★

But the most eventful 4th of July was 
in Washington, D.C. before I met my husband. 
Bob Hope was a yearly headliner for a national celebration 
during the early seventies on the Mall that 
stretches out from the Washington Monument.  
It was one of his ways 
of saluting and supporting the men and women 
who served our country. 

 The exciting part was not seeing Bob Hope.
 The excitement happened hours before the show began.

In the early seventies, the United States was still at war in Viet Nam. 
A war that divided our country and that spawned huge protests 
throughout our nation at all times during the year. 

The Bob Hope Independence Day show in Washington, D.C. 
attracted tens of thousands of people.  There were paid reserved seats near the 
outdoor stage, and then there were the free sections on open grassy areas 
on the mall that stretched from the hill with the Washington Monument  
down to the fenced-in reserved seats and stage.

My roommate and I arrived early in the day with a picnic to stake 
out our spot in a free grassy area to watch the show.  
We spread out our quilt 
high on the hill near the Washington Monument 
and settled in to wait for the show.
★ ★ ★

In the late afternoon, down near the reserved seats, 
a huge vocal crowd gathered to protest the war. We could
 see the commotion, and then we saw the D.C. and National Park 
police arrive to disperse the protesters.  The protesters were not leaving. 
After physical skirmishes between the protesters and the police, 
the police released tear gas.  We could see the large white clouds of 
billowing smoke as they began to drift up the hill towards us. 
We gathered our things, and along with all the parents with their 
children in tow, began to run away from the tear gas clouds. 

We were not fast enough.
R K S 
began in my eyes and throat, followed by a searing burning
in my lungs from the tear gas.
I have never forgotten the terrible burning in my eyes, throat, lungs... 
coughing, tears running from my eyes, all choked up.

We drank lots of water, wiped our eyes, blew our noses...
Eventually the effects wore off.  My roomie and I sat back 
down in a good spot and enjoyed the Bob Hope show and 
FIREWORKS in the air.
So, that is how I was tear-gassed on the 4th of July 
while waiting for a Bob Hope Independence Day show. 
The most exciting 4th of July I have ever experienced...
★ ★ ★

A lot of mixed emotions that 4th of July...
Distress over being tear-gassed, especially when I was
 not even part of the protest... 
Yes, we celebrated freedom that day with a patriotic 
musical show and fireworks. 
But, we also celebrated freedom to disagree with 
the government. 

Although I do not agree with violent protests, 
I do believe in the right of all Americans to express 
disagreement with politicians.  
We know that is how our country was founded. 
A group of citizens protesting against the 
presiding government...
★ ★ ★

Today, let us give thanks for all Americans 
who have contributed to the establishment and preservation 
 of the freedoms we enjoy. 

Let us also remember to share our stories and 
to pass on to the younger generations all the values we hold dear. 
Let us remember to tell our loved ones how much we love them
and to tell them that family is forever, 
regardless of what happens. 
Promises made are promises kept.

For just like old telephone numbers you no longer use 
are forgotten, so it is that values that are no longer taught or 
discussed fade away and are forgotten. 
★ ★ ★
Please join me at these inspiring sites...

Patriotic Party @ Common Ground


Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home