Today is the Fourth of July.
I love this holiday. It is one of my favorites. First, it remains – 235 years later- relatively pure in terms of why it was started and how we continue to celebrate it. And by this I mean that the commercialization of the Fourth is still pretty relaxed as compared to what has happened to other holidays.
In its most basic form, the Fourth of July was created as a holiday to mark the day that America announced its independence from England. It is a time for families and friends to get together (First Amendment: the right of the people peaceably to assemble), grill some meat, pop open a few cold ones, go to a parade to honor our freedoms, and blow off some fireworks.
It is one of the few holidays we still have that has not been moved to a Monday in order to make a long weekend (although, hurray for 2011 and the Monday holiday!). Other than beer and hot dogs, retailers have not had much opportunity to dilute the holiday for their own money-grubbing reasons.
Who doesn’t love a parade in the middle of a hot and sunny day, sitting in a lawn chair on a sidewalk as endless fire trucks and high school bands march by? The town where I grew up, Pittsfield, Mass., has an awesome Fourth of July parade.
In Stonington, the borough puts on a terrific parade every Fourth, inviting anyone who wants to come to march, and everyone dons as much red, white and blue as they can get their hands on, and if you want to make a float and drag it along, more power to you. I love this event, it is as small-town fabulous as you can get, and we never miss it.
So, enjoy your day. Pause for a moment and savor your freedoms as an American, and then fire up the grill.