Thursday, July 7, 2005

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson

Our freedom

Last week I was typing a short story about our early deadlines due to the holiday. I first typed Fourth of July holiday. Later I went back and changed it to Independence Day.

It made me pause and think.

The real reason for the holiday is to celebrate our independence. Our freedom is something we should not take for granted.

Yet, more and more over the years the holiday has simply taken on the Fourth of July and lost some of its significance.

Independence Day celebrates the birthday of the United States of America. Founded July 4, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, America celebrated its 229th birthday on Monday of this week.

Monday night, after a day of mowing the yard, grilling and relaxing, I watched the “American Celebration – Salute to The Troops” from the historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. President and Mrs. Bush hosted the event.

The musical finale of the evening was all the stars and also family members of some of our troops, singing “God Bless America.” It was emotional. Tears almost came to my eyes.

Then President Bush addressed the nation.

“The freedom we defend is meant for all men and women – for all times,” he said to applause from the audience.

It capped off a special holiday weekend.

We celebrated an early Independence Day on July 2 in Alabama with Mother and the rest of my family at the home of my sister Gayla and her husband Roger.

During our family prayer before the meal on Saturday, I emphasized the importance of the day and expressed thanks for those who fought for our freedoms. I also remembered those who are at war today, defending our great nation. Here’s hoping you paused to remember our troops.

Gayla had up the patriotic decorations – red, white and blue. The first big event of the afternoon was eating – steaks with all the trimmings and fresh lemonade.

After eating more than we should have, we relaxed a bit. Then our youngest, Erin, started ringing the bell on the porch. She proclaimed it as “time to go to the creek.”

We spent the next couple of hours in the cool waters of Camp Creek – Erin with her bucket and other water toys. Meanwhile Pam, Andy, Emma and I created our own game, called “creek volleyball.” Most of all, we all enjoyed getting each other soaking wet.

The highlight was a “water fight” between Andy and his Uncle Roger. Roger had the gun, while Andy borrowed Erin’s small bucket. I think Roger won, based on Andy’s wet clothes.

We also took a walk “up the creek,” doing some exploring. I tried to sneak up behind the rest of the crew and scare them. It didn’t work.

Then it was to the pond for some fishing with the rest of the family – Uncle Hugh, Chris and Marlana. The fish weren’t biting. Chris had caught a few small ones before we arrived and tossed them back.

Erin, who has recently become attached to uncles Roger and Hugh during our visits, enjoyed fishing with her own small pole, mostly from their laps.

Next came homemade ice cream and fireworks. The ice cream, made by my sister Vickie, was some of the best I’d ever had.

The fireworks show which followed was also one of our best ever. Each of us picked our own and contributed to the show.

It was a great way to end a fun-filled holiday that included a bit of everything – patriotism, prayer, good food, lemonade, wading in the creek, ice cream and fireworks.

And remember, even though Independence Day 2005 is over, don’t forget our troops.

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