Sunday, July 08, 2007

Let freedom ring

I have been so excited to post about the 4th of July. Not because anything spectacular happened, but it was such a patriotic one for me. I know, I's a patriotic holiday for everyone, but for some reason it really hit home for me this year. I had several moments of true gratitude for all of the freedoms we enjoy. But I think I waited too long because that enthusiasm that I felt has faded. I did want to share a couple of experiences, though.

Our church had a Freedom Festival involving all of the congregations around here. It was a great afternoon.
The whole family got decked out in our Flag T-shirts.

Then all the kids participated in a little parade through the parking lot. We decorated Brandon's scooter in red, white, and blue and he was off!

Rock on, America!

These were the leaders of the parade...
and the first in line for food when it was done.

Whit just walked with a friend.
We didn't want to endanger any bystanders
with her monocular vision on a bike. :)

You can't see her eyes, but this smile tells
exactly how she felt about being in the parade.

After a hot dog supper, there were several patriotic musical numbers. One man sang Lee Greenwood's, "God Bless the U.S.A." It brought me back to the summer after I finished Junior High--1991. My dad had been called up for active duty in the Army for Desert Storm. He was gone for the 4th of July that year and they played that song at our town's firework show. It was so touching and had me in tears back then thinking, "I really AM proud to be an American!" I'm so grateful for my dad's example of serving our country. How hard that must've been to leave his wife and five kids for 9 months! Now that I'm a mom of young kids, I have an even greater appreciation for the sacrifice that my mom made, too. (As well as all other spouses of soldiers.) I only have TWO munchkins and am occasionally on my own for a few days. I can't imagine what that must've been like for her. It was hard on the whole family, though. I REALLY missed my dad.

The other patriotic moment happened at church last Sunday. We sang, "The Star Spangled Banner" as one of our hymns, just like many congregations across the country, I'm sure. The third verse really struck me. What beautiful words:

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r 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!

That's the third verse of our NATIONAL ANTHEM. Isn't that cool? And hasn't our country changed since it was written? I love how blatantly the credit is given to God for our free nation. No apologies. No veiled references. After singing this verse, I wanted to become more politically active in preserving the values held dear by our founding fathers. But, again, the moment has passed and I'll probably just continue to be part of the silent majority who regret that we can no longer say prayers in school, take an oath on the Bible, and that even our motto is being debated, "In God we trust." What a slacker.

On the actual Fourth of July, we went to a local parade. It was VERY short--only 15 minutes--but that was perfect.

Then we went to a BBQ with our friends. It was A LOT of fun and we had great food. What more could we ask?

Did you have any moments of sincere patriotism this 4th? Did they last, or have they faded like mine?


Andi's Dad said...

Enjoyed your patriotic message, Andi.

What you said about Desert Storm brought back a lot of memories. I remember driving to El Paso to report for duty hearing Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless the USA' and getting so teary eyed I had a hard time driving for a while.

I also remember that song being sung at a basketball game a couple of months later between the Utah State Aggies and the New Mexico State Aggies. Since it was only 45 miles to Las Cruces, I got a ticket to watch the game. The NMSU pep band played that song and a soloist sang. Once again, I was pretty much in tears (and not because the USU Aggies were losing).

I also remember spending the 4th of July that year on the Army base and certainly felt the patriotism there.

We didn't do much this year that would be considered patriotic. I helped your Mom do some things at the school and we watched the fireworks here in Roosevelt.

But, I am still very proud to be an American.

grandpa hiatt said...

Crescent 11th ward also sang "The Star Spangled Banner" as the closing song, and I had the same thoughts about that same verse.
This country is such a far cry from what it COULD be and once was.
Thanks for the great pictures.
Who takes the ones with all four of you in them? Do you use a tripod with a time, or a friend?

sandy said...

Great pictures and blog entry -- yeah, I'm with you - I get all riled up about stuff, then it fades when its time to actually do something about it. I have even (gasp) forgotten to vote before and remembered the next day when it was too late. I need to change that about myself -- its important to stand up for things, especially when "all" we have to do is fight for the things already in place, not try to enact something new.

Thanks for the reminder!!

andrea said...

Grandpa--We had some friends take the picture of the whole family at the freedom festival. And just roped an innocent bystander (who happened to be watching the parade next to us) into taking the other.

Marianne said...

Looks like you had a fun, festive holiday! This blog is such a good way for you to journal your family's memories!

Amy said...

When our ward stood and sang The Star Spangled Banner, Jack put his fingers in his ears and was making me laugh. It was a little hard to get the message of the song right then. (-:

I love your hair in that last picture. It's so long!

Natalie said...

When we sang the star spangled banner in church the other day I was surprised that there was more than one verse to that song! ha ha ha.

You guys were too cute in your matching shirts and outfits.

Ang said...

So my blog entry about the 4th was how we participated in the use of illegal fireworks and happened to evade the police. You put me to shame! :-)

Jeremy said...

It's funny how the 1st verse is the most well known, but the 3rd is by far the most moving. I'm glad someone else was having the same thoughts I was. It gave me chills to sing.

g & g hiatt said...

Please thank that innocent bystander for us.

Barbara said...

What a sweet post, Andrea. You are so good at expressing yourself - it's quite a talent. Add that to being the mega-queen of taking great pictures, and it equals one great blog for all of us.
Love you all - Brandon and Whitney look so big in all of the pictures. We have the picture of the Minnesota trip as our screen saver (still) and it's like they're two totally different people from 2 years ago!
As Brandon says , "See you in September!"
Mom Sweat

Paul said...

It was only nine months that dad was gone? It sure did seem longer than that.....hehe. I'm sure mom probably felt like it was FOREVER!!!!

At church on Sunday before the fourth a lady bore her testimony saying that we could show our patriotism so easily by just saying thanks to a veteran. That is so true. We don't realize how lucky we have it here in the United States. The least we can do is say thanks to the men and women who have done there part to protect the precious freedoms we enjoy.

Just my two cents. I'll get off my soap box now. :)