July 4th. It’s not about parades. It’s not about fireworks. It’s not about picnics or BBQs or long days at the pool or baseball games or carnivals. It’s about this. Celebrating this awesome country and all of the people that make it possible.
And it’s pretty F’ing amazing if you think about it. There was a small group of people who literally started this country. Like they woke up one morning and said heyyy, I have an idea, let’s start a country today. So they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and badabing badaboom, America! Just like that. I mean the biggest thing I ever started was a book club and even that was pretty much a failure because no one read any books and we just sat around guzzling wine and yapping. But these guys invented this amazing COUNTRY.
And every year what do we do to recognize it? We eat a crapload of hot dogs and stay up a little late to watch fireworks and we clap and yell thank you when the soldiers and veterans roll by in the parade. And yeah it’s fun. But it’s NOT enough.
So this year, I’m changing it up a little. I’m showing the kids how to honor this country by teaching them about some of the awesome people who have made it possible.
ME: Hey guys, it’s almost July 4th. Want to go make some cards to send to veterans?
HOLDEN: What’s a veteran?
ZOEY: Duhhh, it’s a person who takes care of animals.
ME: Actually, that’s a veterinarian. Veterans are people who have fought hard to preserve our freedom and safety and everything that makes our country awesome.
HOLDEN AND ZOEY: (blank stare)
Clearly a little lesson was in order. So my hubby and I took the kids to the National Veterans Art Museum. Honestly I had no idea this cool place even existed, but I was looking online for a volunteer project to do with the kids and I found this organization called The Honeycomb Project. And this is what we did there.
ZOEY: Mom, I don’t want to send mine to the hospital. I want to keep them.
ME: I know, honey, but today’s not about taking. Today is about giving. And don’t you think we should say thank you to the veterans?
Holy crap, she didn’t even argue with me!! Then we walked around and learned a little more about veterans.
And when the project was all done, we were about to leave when Zoey suddenly realized she forgot something.
ZOEY: I’ll be right back!
I seriously teared up when she ran back to do this. It worked! It worked!!!!
So this year when we watch the parade on July 4th, guess what my kids are going to appreciate more than anything? All of the candy that people toss out to them. I mean duhhh, they are kids. But something else too. When the veterans walk by in their uniforms or roll by in the big old veterans party bus, my kids are going to clap and yell thank you and they’re really gonna know why this year. Because these are the people who have helped make our country possible. And awesome. And safe. And absolutely amazing.
So this Independence Day you can do all the regular fun stuff, but don’t forget to give a HUGE THANK YOU to our founders, our soldiers, our veterans, our public officials, and all of the awesome people who have made this country possible. Happy July 4th!!
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