17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Celebrating the Fourth of July Better
When it comes to holidays like Christmas and Easter, I am very aware of the commercialization that surrounds them. Because of this, I make an extra effort to strip away that commercialism (at least for a time) and focus on the real meaning of the holiday. It didn’t strike me until I was sitting in church on Sunday that The Fourth of July has fallen into the very same trap where it’s original meaning has become overshadowed by BBQ’s, Fireworks and Old Navy Flag Tees.
While a few peoples' testimonies had patriotic themes, what struck me most, was standing and singing our national anthem for the opening hymn. We all know the first verse very well, but rarely do we get the opportunity to get to the last verse:
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I was taken back at the emotion that came bubbling up from within my body and escaped as tears from my eyes and a crack in my voice. Fourth of July is a time to reflect upon the history of America and offer a prayer of thanks for this country which was originally built by people who knew God, sought after his guidance and acknowledged His hand.
This fourth of July, I hope to place more focus on the birth of this country and better “praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.”
Here are a few of my ideas on how I might accomplish this:
- Make a collection of patriotic music and play it leading up to the 4th and throughout the day. This list includes some non-traditional "patriotic" songs to add to the ipod.
- Take time to read through the Declaration of Independence and Washington's First Inaugural Address.
- Take a refresher course on flag etiquette.
- I would love to find a book to read to Princess (almost 4) about the birth of America or about one of the founding fathers. Any suggestions?
- Get the hardware needed to be able to fly the American Flag (I already own) outside my home. And fly it with a spirit of thanksgiving.
I found an article on Deseret Book that gave lots more ideas. Here are synopses of my favorites (with added links):
- Read the words to the Star Spangled Banner aloud and learn about it’s history as our National Anthem.
- Invite a veteran to your home to share his/her unique feelings about America.
- Have a birthday party for America where your “gifts” are goals to be a better citizen or ways to make the country a better place.
I guess the reality is that these ideas are a little late in coming this year and I probably won't get around to doing all I want (I still have to grocery shop for the bbq, clean the house for our guests and figure out where is the best place to watch the local fireworks) but at least I'll be ahead of the game for next year.
I would love to hear any other ideas of bringing meaning back into Fourth of July celebrations.