Anyone who knows me personally is already aware the 4th of July is one, if not my absolute favorite holiday. I’m drawn to the colors red, white, and blue like a moth to porch light on a summer night. Maybe it’s the history geek that lives inside me, the sense of patriotism or the prospect that it is the one time of year it is socially acceptable to set off explosives.
FYI I’m a pyro and an adrenaline junkie. I was told once that all firefighters are pyros at heart, and as an ex Wildland firefighter I can personally attest to the validity of this statement, also anyone who has slight pyromaniac tendencies will have those tendencies X’s 15 after becoming a firefighter. Maybe it’s the result of repeatably filling our lungs from the smoke from burning trees and fields, but eventually the need to be around flames begins to flow through your blood.
You can imagine for someone who loves the 4th of July like a teenager loves their cell phone, finding out I had to work the 4th was slightly devastating. Did I have big extravagant plans? No. All of my family is out of town, and due to my recent move to Kansas my budget for fireworks was nonexistent, but that was not the point. This was MY holiday I told myself, but instead of spending my day in Oklahoma at a powwow in my American flag print cut-off jean shorts and a tank top becoming a darker shade of brown, I was dressed conservatively, sitting at my desk in Kansas formatting farm machinery press releases, feeling sorry for myself.
I’m not a fan of pity parties, I don’t encourage them and try to prevent myself in partaking in that kind of festivity. However from the time I awoke at 5:30 a.m. till about 9:30 a.m. I jealously listened to the “Patriotic Country” station on Songza, longing to be sipping sweet tea with my friends outside in the triple degree heat of MY holiday.
At 9:30 it hit me like a brick. MY holiday? Really Danielle? How selfish. I have a job I love, a roof over my head, a fridge full of junk food, and the freedom to wear, say, or write anything I choose. The 4th of July is not about the petty things I was clinging to or the explosives I was dreaming about, but about this wonderful country I am blessed to be a citizen of and the men and women who have fought to protect it.
It’s easy to get caught up in the little things as Americans we feel we deserve, but if you really take the time to look at it, most of those “things” are merely luxuries. Luxuries we have everyday and take for granted that our ancestors and founding fathers worked very hard to obtain for us, and luxuries that many people in other countries have never experienced.
You’re probably thinking okay, okay, step away from the pulpit right now Danielle you’re preaching to the choir and we’ve already all heard this sermon over and over again. Stay with me here I have a point, no matter how appreciative you are of the sacrifices of others, it is very easy to get wrapped up in ourselves.
Remember we are so blessed that there are people selfless enough in this country to:
Step up and defend and protect our country everyday so we can sleep soundly at night and have the freedom of speech and religion.
Work seven days a week 365 days a year to feed our nation, so you don’t have to wonder where dinner is going to come from. (Livestock don’t observe holidays and weekends… go figure huh.)
So hug your family and friends, laugh, eat till you can’t move, and blow money on firecrackers (unless there is burn ban, y’all not observing it are about to run my firefighting friends into the ground, and always keep a water source close by… *steps off fire prevention soap box*) to set off into the night air, America is beautiful and you have that right.