This July 4th will be the 45th of my life that I have experienced. Today for some reason, I tried to remember some of the ones that I have experienced. While, I certainly do not remember all of them, a few remembrances are still clear.
- In my preteen years, I have recollection of grill outs and fireworks at Stone Mountain along with time spent with my extended family on vacations. Of note, I have recollection of the large bicentennial celebration of 1976, though we spent it at home, I recall much of the celebration observed on our 3-5 channel television.
- My teen and college years bring back the memory of a July 4th at Six Flags (1981) which turned in to an early morning on July 5th since back then the park did not close until midnight as well as the traffic problems brought on by the large crowds after the park was closed. Another memorable July 4th was spent with summer missionaries in Alaska (1985) in which at midnight on July 5th, they still had not started the fireworks since it was not dark enough to do so.
- I remember my first July 4th after being married (1987). My wife and I observed the fireworks from our townhouse near a local park.
- Since then, there have been many July 4ths as children were born. Many were spent on vacation to my Moms when she lived in Tennessee. We would use the time before and after to take trips to Chattanooga, Nashville, and places in between such as Civil War battlefields, Rock City, Ruby Falls, the Lost Sea, the Hermitage and the Tennessee Aquarium. These always ended with my Mom's family at her house with lots of cousins, nieces, nephews, and uncles and aunts and my Grandmother. The kids enjoyed seeing their cousins and playing in Mimi's plastic swimming pool. I enjoyed the thrashing one of my cousins and myself gave our uncles and other cousins in basketball (though now some of those cousins, I am sure, would be giving me the thrashing). We all enjoyed the time together, especially Uncle Joe's BBQ and Ripley Tomatoes.
- One July 4th (1999) will always live in my memory because of a move we made to Louisville, KY which we probably should not have made. It was a Sunday and most of the day was spent unpacking.
- As of late, many July 4ths have come and gone and we have observed most of them as a family with cookouts and relaxation without the crowds. This one will likewise be observed here at home with my family around a cooked out meal and time spent away from the ordinary of work and school. Overall, it has always been a time of family and friends.
I am sure you have memories of July 4ths in your past. I am just glad that God has granted me these memories as the early ones (and sometime the ones of late) seem to disappear too fast from my mind. I doubt I have 45 more July 4ths to celebrate on this earth, but may I remember as each one comes around God's goodness and mercy to me a sinner and his mercy and grace on this country for to Him alone belongs all the glory.