Take in the Fourth this year

By EMILY JACKSON,

Here it is again, staring us right in the face, my second favorite holiday, the Fourth of July. Second favorite because my love of haunted houses, scary movies, and costumes ranks Halloween number one with me. The Fourth runs a close second place though. The year is halfway over and Summer is in full swing.

The Fourth of July is a holiday of fun. It’s a holiday of celebrating America. There are cookouts galore. Almost every get-together includes a water event of some sort (at least it does in the south anyway where the temperatures are somewhere around those of the devil’s kitchen), watermelon is served as a main dish and the fireworks shows are spectacular. For one day people come together no matter what race, religion, or political party they represent to celebrate the biggest thing we have in common this wonderful country we call home.

You can pick any given news channel, any day, and almost any time to catch controversial topics. National news media outlets stir the pot with political stories or views often turning one group against the next. America may still be a blending pot, but there are many evils fighting to separate what hundreds of years has formed. When the pot gets stirred agreeing to disagree does not happen often. One different view, and people become sworn enemies. We forget about the simple “love your neighbor” and it often turns into “love your neighbor that loves your views.”

Maybe it is just in my little neck of the woods, but on the Fourth of July none of that seems to matter. For that one day everyone is happy. Family and friends are together, kids are running outside, and the barbecue grill is fired up. If someone stopped by hungry, we would feed them too without hesitation.

I like to think this is what those soldiers saw when they were fighting for our freedom to establish the USA. They pictured their families happy for generations, celebrating in the way they choose. They saw kids running free, eating a fresh watermelon down to the rind. They saw the future they wanted us to have.

It is sad to say with our busy lives, sense of entitlements, and inability to compromise on differing views this is not the way our country runs every day. Instead riots are becoming a familiar sight. Neighbors do not know each other and fail to even speak. At any given time you can be criticized or called a hypocrite for your views. We have strayed far from the original idea of freedom.

Spend Thursday eating watermelon, chasin’ youngins’, participating in whatever you can to get wet and cool down, eat some good barbecue then take in a firework show.

During that show, look around take in the different individuals there. Notice their families. In that particular moment, it will not matter if they are Republican or Democrat, which race they belong to, or whether they voted for President Trump or for Hillary Clinton. Right then and there they will only wear the label of American, the label we should wear with more pride than any other.

They are your brothers and sisters and you are there to celebrate the birth of a country that gave us freedom so we could believe differently. Take that into your everyday life. Apply it to the people you meet. Agree to disagree when your beliefs don’t line up. You’re not just a Republican or Democrat, not just a certain race, you’re not just rich or poor. You are an American and it is time we all start acting like it.