By Winfield Scott Wulf

  Let us celebrate they say.

  Let us celebrate because it is the 4th of July, the day we celebrate the independence of our country, the United States!!

  But the term ‘let us celebrate’ has changed over the years, as now we celebrate differently than when we would have some 40 or 50 years ago, and in some cases even 10 or 15 years past.

  My 4th of July has changed immensely, especially in the past 10 years or so.

  No longer do I seem to get together with family, in particular some of my adult children even though they may live less than a few miles away.

  No longer do I enjoy the multiple number of individual family firework shows in the neighborhood as they have become to much like a competition as to who has the most, the brightest, the fanciest and of course, the loudest.

  I also do not enjoy the abundance of neighborhood fireworks due to the smoke irritates my lung condition and the noise stresses my puppy to the point where he spends the evening curled up in a tight ball.

  Instead, I remember a few memorable 4th of July’s and appreciate the family and community feel more than ever before.

  Going way back to around 1960 when I was just a little kid living in a small town in Iowa where they had a 4th of July parade.

  Going back to my kid days and the extended family would be together for a family reunion and one of my dearest uncles would laugh and laugh shooting off fireworks for my cousins and all, at least until the one time when a firework made a U-turn and ended up chasing my dear uncle for about 15-20 yards before it fizzled out.

  Going back to a 4th of July spent at home in Nebraska where the parents (mainly the dads) put together a bunch of fireworks for the neighborhood kids at the nearby high school. I remember because a year earlier I found what we were told was a smoke bomb in our yard and my dad kept it on his dresser for 11 ½ months before he gave it to me, lit it and then yelled throw it as hard and far as you can. I threw it, but just as I turned to my dad to voice my disappointment that the smoke bomb seemed to be a dud – BOMB – it went off as it was really a cherry bomb!

  Going back to those 4th of July evenings shooting off minimal fireworks with my own kids as they grew up before going to the town celebration firework display and let the pros do the work.

  Okay, maybe it is my age, my health, or maybe my concern for my buddy – my dog, that I no longer enjoy the 4th of July as I used to.

  One thing I do see happening, is that we no longer celebrate the 4th of July as a nation together, and we will not be able to ever again as long as we have various groups that seem to think they are better than others, or that they should hold power over others. We are a nation, a democracy where every individual has freedoms that many countries do not offer.

  As long as we stay so immensely divided as a country in politics, faith, individual human rights, and care for the environment – then the 4th of July will continue to become dimmer and dimmer as far as moving forward as a true democracy.

  One thing I do regret, is that fewer families make the 4th of July a reason for a true family get together, and that is something can put a frown on the 4th of July at my house.

  But for those who celebrate and are able to or have family willing to celebrate together, enjoy the moments as the fly past into the past and most of all remember that we celebrate the 4th of July as a nation and not as individuals.

{Copyright@2022 by CrossDove Writers}