• Leigh Gerstenberger

Remembering the Fourth of July




Having just come off the Fourth of July holiday, I find that this year’s left me with a feeling of emptiness.


Under normal circumstances during this weekend my family would gather for a community parade and a family picnic followed by evening fireworks. With five grandchildren under the age of six, I would look forward to the excitement and wonder on their faces as firemen would throw out candy from high atop their perch on a bright red hook and ladder truck as it crawled down main street. But this year’s holiday left me longing for the squeals of young children as colorful explosions from fireworks failed to fill the night sky.


The Fourth of July, our country’s nationwide birthday celebration didn’t happen this year. Oh sure, as a country we are still a year older, but local communities throughout the land cancelled firework displays, picnics and parades and closed restaurants and bars to keep crowds from gathering and contributing to the spread of the Coronavirus.


To say that the Fourth of July did not happen this year is an understatement. Since the actual holiday fell on a Saturday, I can’t even recall whether or if the federal holiday that closed banks, the stock exchange and suspended postal deliveries for a day fell on Friday the 3rd or Monday the 6th, another sign of how this year’s national holiday felt like a non-event.


This being said, the fact that this year’s holiday weekend lacked all the folderol of previous national celebrations it gave me pause to reflect more soberly on the unique experiment that is America which I’ve endeavored to illustrate in the following quotation and song for the week.



Quote of the Week

I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.

Bob Dylan - American singer-songwriter, author, visual artist and Nobel Prize recipient.



Song of The Week

Patriotic songs come in many flavors.  National anthems, hymns and even folk tunes.  One of my favorites since it was first released in 1984 is Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the U.S.A also known as Proud to Be an American.

A friend sent me this version on the Fourth of July.  It gave me a lump in my throat as I listened to it.  I hope you enjoy it.


Listen to "God Bless The U.S.A." here.



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