My sister and I met up at the Wyandotte Fourth of July parade this morning, as we do almost every year. My boys have been attending this parade with their cousin for a long time!
This was me (white shirt in the middle with the sunglasses) with both of my sisters at the parade in July 2000, almost two years even before I had kids!
Four-month-old Jamie at the parade–back when I actually took the time to dress my kids patriotically for the occasion! 😉
Due to family reunions falling on July 4th weekend two years in a row, we didn’t attend the parade, but here is JJ when he first went, in 2008 at 2 years old. He is SO happy to find out that they throw free candy, lol!
Cousins at the parade, July 2009.
My sister and me. Every year, her husband arrives to the parade route super early and sets up our chairs in the same spot, then sits there drinking his coffee until we arrive, about 10 minutes before it starts. 🙂 He’s a Wyandotte native, so he’s been coming to the parade since HE was a kid.
So, I think everyone knows I’m a history major, and I love to talk history, especially United States history. I try so hard to get my boys to be as enthusiastic about it as me, but it’s an uphill battle. A couple of days ago (July 2nd, the actual date the Declaration was signed), I was trying to describe to them the true importance of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I started telling them a story in a way I thought they might be able to appreciate it. I won’t say they did, but this morning, I thought I would share it with my social media friends. They all seemed to appreciate it, so I thought I’d share it on my blog, too. Here you go…
Imagine for a moment the scene: a bunch of men (yes, privileged white men, but that’s not today’s argument) are sitting around in a big room, a matter of incredible importance weighing heavily upon all of them. Back and forth they argue, what decision should they make? Pro or con? Stay or go? And then finally, one person looks around and says the 18th century equivalent of, “Enough! We are DONE. We can’t let those bastards in Britain lead us around by the nose anymore. Let’s end this!”
And then it’s quiet as the others look around, all of them staring at each other as they waited for someone—anyone—to speak. And then finally, someone does. “He’s right! It’s time we break free of the Crown’s chains! No more British rule!” And then one by one, more voices joined in, until the sentiment was unanimous. The group was fired up with a sense of purpose and the indignation of rebellion. But then, when the furor died down, they looked around at each other again and someone hesitantly asks, “Dude. Are we’re really gonna to do this?” It’s a sobering question, and everyone ponders for a moment their role in this momentous action they are about to undertake. And then, finally, someone shouts out, “Hell, yes, we are!” And the thirteen colonies unanimously agree to declare themselves free and independent from Britain.
From that point, the word spreads, not via social media or texting, but by good old fashioned letter. The news travels across the land, and the common citizens who read of this “Declaration of Independence” are both elated and fearful. Is this the right thing to do? Can we really win our independence from Britain? Can we really survive on our own without the Crown’s support? Despite their fears, however, most colonists believed it was possible, and they fought—and died—valiantly for this cause in which they so strongly believed.
Is that exactly how it happened? Ha, probably not! 😉 But it’s what I imagine when I think of the moments before and after the Declaration of Independence was signed…not the big fanfare of celebration, but the sobering reality of having the future of a few million people in your hands, not knowing what the outcome would be, but knowing that SOMETHING had to be done. Here’s to the courageous men who took that first step, and to the many, many brave men and women who then fought the fight to see that step to the end—culminating 240 years later in my ability to live as a free citizen in these United States. Let none of us every take that right for granted. Happy Independence Day, America!
And happy Independence Day to all my American blogger friends! Thanks for reading!