4th of July: Freedom and Family

The 4th of July was a big day in our neighborhood when I was growing up. It meant family and neighbor time. Some years it meant patriotic singing, led by my Dad’s booming voice. It meant hot dogs and hamburgers cooked by my Dad, Bill, and our neighbor ,Ernie Lindberg. For many years the biggest fireworks production in St. Paul was at Highland Park on Montreal. We didn’t travel to see them as our backyard on Bowdoin Street was a perfect venue for lining up the lawn chairs and watching, with sparklers in hand. As the older Lindberg sons hit their teens, somehow we had our own fireworks displays in a city where that wasn’t allowed. But we reveled in it.

When my parents moved out of their house, one place they lived was a condo across from Central Park in Roseville, Minnesota. We would just walk out their patio door and watch the fireworks from Central Park. The grandchildren loved that view. Of course, we had sparklers. I miss those days.

One year my husband and I were in Washington, DC on the 4th. Talk about a busy place but what a place to be on the 4th! The music, parade, but most of all for me, the feeling of history and freedom was everywhere.

Yes, it’s a day to celebrate and remember. But I also remember the Native Americans who suffered and were forced to gave up their freedom in this beautiful land. Let’s not forget their sacrifice.

© 2011 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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