I didn’t know how it would turn out, but for three dollars and some change, it was worth a try. We were at Dollar Tree picking up some supplies for an upcoming birthday party and Bible Club. One aisle was crammed with patriotic paraphernalia, and I couldn’t resist. I held up the half-circle that read America then found three glittery red, white, and blue stars and a coordinating sparkly bow. Yes, I thought. All I need is my mad glue gun skills, and these inexpensive decor pieces will create the perfect summer door hanging. And if not? Well, I can live with a three dollar loss.
My low-risk gamble paid off. The Dollar-Tree creation added just the right touch of patriotic pizazz to our front door, an unexpected symbol that enjoying liberty costs me very little.
July fourth. I’ve always loved it.
Maybe it’s the homemade vanilla ice cream that’s best eaten (or drunk?) out of a red Solo cup.
Maybe it’s the dazzling white fireworks, the ones that look like chandeliers with a billion sparkling diamonds cascading down.
Maybe it’s the gathering of family and friends to enjoy a relaxed time together.
Maybe it’s the close proximity to my birthday, that three days after my celebration, I join in the country’s celebration.
Maybe it’s the music, and the sweet memories of playing John Philip Sousa on my flute once upon a time.
Certainly, it’s all of that. All of these rich-with-memories celebrations that add up year after year. These moments I remember as a child that I now share with my own children – scooping up ice cream, gazing at the fire-lit sky, gathering together, and listening to timeless patriotic melodies. I’d describe them as simple pleasures, but really?
These are pleasures afforded to me at the great cost of others.
So perhaps a better description is “gifts of freedom.”
Gifts that cost many their lives.
Gifts that did not come free to those who have fought, served, and died for our great nation.
If you are one of those or you are a friend or family member to one of those, thank you. Thank you for your sacrifices for your country, which includes me – the one over here savoring that last bite of rich creamy goodness and tapping her foot to “Stars and Stripes Forever.” I salute you with a grateful heart.
May you and yours have a Happy Fourth enjoying the many gifts of freedom. The menu, the surroundings, the entertainment, and the company – all of it is a springboard for thankfulness to soar.