The 4th of July

by Jessica Ehlers, July 4, 2010

The 4th of July parade in Mendocino.  If you've never been, you should check it out.  It's like no other 4th of July parade.

The fire trucks were a big hit with my little man.  Following the firetrucks, I caught my breath.  Here they came.   The older Vets marching in uniform.  I stood there on the street next to my boy, tears streaming down my face.  These proud older gentleman carrying with them the flag and volumes of dusty untold stories.  And these men are just those who survived.

Last night I watched the fireworks in the Noyo Harbor.  The beach itself was ablaze with laughter and bonfires and firecrackers.  Boats shot their own fireworks shows and just when I was sure it was over, then the real show started.  First, I thought of Disneyland.  Then, the lyrics to the Star-Spangled Banner and, like today, more tears.

What the hell?

"The rockets red glare.  The bombs bursting in air..."  As the song was playing in my head I was wondering if indeed, freedom can ever be free.  Starting to wonder things like, What is freedom?  Is it the fact that I can vote and wear jeans and have a job?  Is it that the roads are paved?  To get divorced?  And this the act of pursuing happiness.  Just what is that, exactly?

And it isn't like those on the Mayflower who landed on the shores of America had any claim to "This Land". It isn't much about patriotism per se, it is about the fact that I believe in our Constitution.  Am I alone here?

How is it that we have let our Country become ruled by corporations?  Why spend so much money at war when our kids cannot even read when they graduate high school?  I know I have a tendency to trust that someone has it handled so I shouldn't worry about it too much.  This is a dangerous game.  Time to use our voices people.  What do you have to say?

Happy B-Day America.  I am, in actuality- very grateful to be an American.  Just for the record.

2 Responses to The 4th of July

  1. Meg Reply

    July 11, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I don’t miss this event or the towns clan at all. Lots of pot smoking and drinking and inbreeding (not because of the pot smoking or drinking just because) and the same crap every year.

  2. Karen Lewis Reply

    July 11, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I really like your blog – just discovered it on the AVA.

    Yeah, we take so much “freedom” for granted. Thinking of the fact that in many countries, just carrying a sign is enough to get you killed or disappeared. Dressing in seaweed & dancing on the back of a truck would be pretty darn dangerous in many places. We are fortunate that so many folks give “freely” of their time to protect folks from fire, accidents, forces of nature. And still have energy left to spend a day cleaning up the fire equipment to go on parade.

    Cool thing about small local parades is that ANYone and EVERYone can participate. It is a lot of work to organize but more people may participate. Then it won’t be “the same old stuff” it will be new, young stuff. A stronger community, upholding freedom of speech, expression & the “rights of people to peaceably assemble.” Let us create the community –and the parade — that we want to live with. Let the new generations come forward and let all voices be heard. On parade, and elsewhere.

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