Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Post Fourth of July Perspective

Yeah, it's Tuesday. Christina's back at at school, Hubs is back at work, and it's back to normal. Whatever passes as normal over here.

It's been an okay holiday. We took the kids to various parks and playgrounds in the area and to the YMCA Splash Park yesterday. The kids loved it...Christina took to the water like a fish. Michael was OK once he got used to the sounds and the feel of the water. Sarah's still reserving her judgment. An active weekend really suited them, but it was on our terms. Usually we're visiting family for 4th of July, but we weren't rushing all over the place or travelling long hours. Robert introduced the kids to sparklers in the backyard and we saw some fireworks.
Of course, four days with the husband home was OK, but I was rather glad he went back to work. I could only take so much of his "let's do what I want to do for four days".

Celebrating 4th of July post-kids is definitely different from pre-kids. One year, we went up to Lititz, Pennsylvania. It's a small town, but their fireworks display is spectacular. (In fact, I heard that the town budget is geared mostly for the light show) The year we went, the organizers put an old computer in the center of the field. We were both wondering what was going on, but then the announcer explained what had happened the year before. A computer glitch had delayed the fireworks for several hours. They had a new system, but there was a question of what to do with the old system.

They blew up the old computer to the cheers of the crowd and that started their fireworks show. Problem solved.

Did I mention that was an awesome show that year?

At the other end of the spectrum, I attended a celebration at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's house in Charlottesville, Virginia. TJ was the 3rd American president, the writer of the Declaration on Independence and the founder of the University of Virginia. I had worked in the Monticello Education Department (teaching school kids about TJ and Colonial Virginia, the Revolutionary War, etc.). By coincidence (or design?), both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (2nd American president) died on the same day, July 4, 1826.

Every year, they had a Citizenship Swearing-in Ceremony for new American citizens and a solemn celebration at TJ's tomb at the Jefferson Family Graveyard. Having helped people gain the citizenship, I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to do it. My mother had to learn the preamble to the US Constitution by heart, know all 3 branches of government, and other aspects of American government. I spent hours with her going over information, facts that I'd taken for granted, having lived in the US for so long. To Mom, it was learning something completely new.

I became a US citizen myself when I was 15 (though technically, according to the British government, I'm also still a UK citizen, since there were no British officials present at the time/didn't give up my citizenship on British soil. Kinda surprised when I found that out.).  Seeing these new citizens being sworn in at Monticello brought back memories of watching Mom taking her oath, more than 25 years ago.

Still, it was good to celebrate the 4th with family, and remembering just how special this day is for everyone in the USA.

All writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

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