July 4th is my favorite holiday. But what about Christmas you say?? I do love some Christmas and Arbor Day action but I have very special memories and all the feels about the 4th.

Patriotism runs deep in my family. Here's my great grand uncle Harold who fought in WW II with his mom and wife.

Patriotism runs deep in my family. Here’s my great grand uncle Harold who fought in WW II.

My family was very patriotic growing up.  I had several uncles and extended family members who were in the military so paying respects to servicemen and women wasn’t something we did, it was who we were. My mom always made a point on the 4th to remind me why we pause for a moment of silence before the fireworks, what those fireworks represent, and how lucky we were to be able to sit by the lake freely eating our hot dogs and playing with friends. I still to this day well up during the National Anthem, or Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA.

I was too young then to fully understand what “freedom” means. Now that I’m older, I get it. And it terrifies me that we are on the verge of losing part of what our founding fathers intended this country to be. I see things happening around the world and in our country that threatened the freedom of all people, and I get it.

This isn’t intended to be a political post. Just a moment of reflection while I drink my coffee and let out my feels on the blog. I don’t have all the answers. And if I did that would be a totally different blog post in which I announce I’m running for President of the Universe.

soldier and flag

As Americans we seem to be more divided than ever before on politics, race, and socio-economic issues. Who is right? Who is most qualified to lead our nation? Who will prevail? Can I glean their intention to lead from a 10 second soundbite on the news? These are questions I ask myself every election year.

But this year feels different. This year it feels like America’s freedom, is getting a little less free.

Some of our leaders aren’t leading the way our predecessors did. We have a faulty justice system that allows rapists to go free, mega stars who have repeatedly sexually abused women and not held accountable, and presidential nominees that have split our country down the middle with scandal and hate-filled speech. It’s sad that we have to choose between “the lesser of two evils”, something I hear or read on my Facebook page more than once a day.

There are so many more problems with our economy, police brutality, and guns. Dear God, enough with the guns! Some days it feels like America is on the verge of imploding. Everyone is mad at everyone, and you have to hope the people who are crazy mad, don’t also have guns. This powerful nation that once stood for freedom, faith, and justice now feels so broken that it’s beyond repair.

4th flags

How can I leave a country like this to my child?  How can I look in her eyes and tell her how great it was, knowing it’s going to be a shit storm in the future? She could get shot and killed by the time she reaches first grade. Some perv could rape her in college and get away with it. Or terrorists could blow up the building where she works.

I know this sounds dramatic. I’m feeling introspective because I love this country! I love this holiday and the nostalgic feeling it gives me for a seemingly safer time to be alive.  These aren’t fears my mom had for me. Twenty years ago my mom was worried about me going to college and picking the right major. She used to be afraid that people would tease me for my red hair. And her parents worried about even less.

This 4th I will still tell my daughter what it means to be free, about the men and women who have died protecting those freedoms that we take for granted everyday. She won’t get it yet. But one day when she’s older, I hope she is truly living in a better version of America. And she’ll look back and say, this is why we celebrate the 4th. This is why the 4th of July is special to me.