Happy 4th, y’all! I woke up in a good mood. Independence Day does that to me. It is my favorite holiday. Summertime, cookouts, fireworks, and a day at the beach. What’s not to love about that??
Growing up, both sides of my family went all out on July 4th. Papaw drove into South Carolina to pick up fireworks every year when I was little. After supper, he’d set them off in the cattle field behind the house.
When I got a little older, Daddy started taking me to the festivities at Lake Junaluska. He’d fill me up with ice cream and let me run around with sparklers.
But the best 4ths were spent in Wilmington with Mama. We spent all of them playing in the ocean. Afterward, was a cookout, followed by the Independence Day celebration in downtown Wilmington. We’d sit with our toes dangling in the Cape Fear to watch the fireworks.
Brandon and I carried on that same tradition for the girls. I have dozens of memories of Bug and Belle staring up at the night sky with their little sunburned cheeks.
Those memories make July 4th special to me. It’s not all about the celebrations, though.
I’m patriotic to a fault. Whether that’s a popular sentiment today or not, it’s true.
I love my country. Patriotic songs get me in my feels, as do movies. I wish I was kidding, but I ugly cry when the Statue of Liberty walks down the street in Ghostbusters II. I’ve done that since I first saw the movie at 7 years old.
Like many other North Carolinians, I come from a family with a strong military tradition.
Both of my grandfathers served during WWII. Daddy was in the Coast Guard. Uncle Tom fought in Vietnam. Several of my aunts and uncles were enlisted during the Cold War, and many of my cousins signed up during the Gulf and Afghanistan wars.
Every Independence Day, I’m reminded of them – and every other soldier stretching back to the American Revolution. Generation after generation shed blood for the red, white, and blue.
That’s something to be proud of.
And I am.