Happy 4th of July

Photoplay America the Beautiful Easel Card by Kathy Clement Photo 01

Happy 4th of July Tribute Post

Hello, Friends!  Happy 4th of July to all my dear friends and family in the good old USA!  I’m just popping in to wish everyone a festive, fabulous, fun and safe 4th.  I’m busy today with family festivities, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite Independence Day memories and some of my favorite past projects that celebrate the Red, White and Blue!

I think it is right and fitting that any country should set aside a day to honor its history, culture and people.  Everyone should love his or her country and feel a sense of pride when they see their flag flying.  As a young girl, , my mom and dad instilled a deep love for our nation.  I can still see my dad remove his hat and put his hand over his heart as the flag passed by. It was a good way to grow up!

Mom and the Flagpole

We grew up with lots and lots of love…but not a lot of money.  Mom and Dad were beyond thrifty.  Recycling was not something we did out of love for the environment…it was done out of necessity!  We bought very little as my parents had an almost supernatural ability to create, design or build whatever we happened to need.

One year, Mom wanted to build a flag garden in our front yard.  Dad had already built a white fence around our property using poles cut from the trees in the woods behind our yard. The rails were made by taking apart wooden boxes that the large drill bits and tools were shipped in at the quarry where Dad worked.  But Mom wanted to display the flag in our front yard on a flag pole with flower garden around it.For Home and Country Memorial Day Card by Kathy Clement Photo 01

So off to the woods we went.  Dad has his saw and  hatchet in hand.  My little sister, Sue, was only about 3 at the time.  We tramped through the woods until Dad found a sapling that was the right height and girth for Mom’s flagpole.  He skillfully chopped it down, then sawed off the branches and lopped off the top until it measured the height Mom had in mind.  This was hard work, and we all helped.  But Dad did the bulk of the work.

If you are wondering how we got it home, the answer is, Mom and Dad carried it!  I “helped” of course, but really not much.  Susie, who was little and got tired, rode astride the tree trunk as we made our way home.  I don’t remember a single word of complaint from anyone.

Mom’s Patriotic Garden

Authentique Liberty Patriotic Banner for Summer by Kathy Clement Kathy by Design

We had to strip all the bark off that trunk.  Then we had to let it dry, propped up on bricks until the summer sun baked it dry. Then we painted it with several coats of white paint.  We could not afford a fancy gold finial ball at the top.  No worries.  Dad had saved an old float from a toilet.  Don’t ask me why.  He saved everything!  Painted gold and secured to the top of the pole, it made a very handsome finial ball.  No one knew but us!

Now Dad rigged up a rope and pulley system for raising and lowering the flag.  He had all the “stuff” for doing this in his magical basement workshop.

Next, Dad had to dig a good deep hole, fill it with concrete and set the pole in the wet cement.  I honestly don’t remember how this was done, but I’m sure Dad had a method.  He always did.

Mom had the honor of raising the flag on that pole for the very first time.  I remember us standing at the base of in absolute wonder, our hearts filled with patriotic pride.  It’s one of my favorite childhood memories.  As time went on, Mom placed a ring of stone around the pole, planted flowers and made it the prettiest spot on our hill.

We  had to learn flag etiquette: how to raise it quickly, lower it slowly, and never ever let it touch the ground.  We were schooled in how to fold it the right way, and never let the sun set on it.  Taking the flag down at sunset was a daily ritual during the non-winter months.  And if a surprise shower popped up, I can remember bringing the flag down and folding it so it would not get wet.  All these things instilled a deep love of Country in my heart.

Patriotism in the Schoolhouse

This was bolstered by the school I attended.  Every year we spent time learning and singing a multitude of patriotic songs.  We would sing them at the top of our lungs as we played on the swings during recess.  The first song I remember learning to play on my flutophone (remember those?) was “This Is My Country.”  It used to give me chills to hear “The Stars and Stripes Forever” or “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”  I still get choked up when I sing “God Bless America, ” or “America the Beautiful.”  It is as it should be.  And I dare you not to get chills when you hear “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

We started each day with The Pledge of Allegiance, and sang “My Country “tis of Thee, ” our sweet childish voices stretching to reach the high notes and reaching a crescendo with the words, “from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”.

We were a town of immigrants: Italians, Irish, Puerto Rican, Lebanese, Greek. But we didn’t think about ourselves that way.  We were just Americans.

My prayer is that we will rediscover the beauty and honor and glory of those days.  The world will be a better place when we do.

Thanks for letting me share these thoughts with you.

You can see past 4th of July projects and tutorials HERE.

God Bless America!




13 thoughts on “Happy 4th of July

  1. Diane Shull

    Hello Kathy,
    I too love the red, white and blue color scheme and enjoy seeing all your beautiful makes. What a wonderful memory of your childhood. Thank your for sharing, I enjoyed reading your snippet of family history. I too pray that our country would return to God and Patriotism. Thank you for the ecard. Hugs and Blessings, Diane

  2. Susan Steele

    Oh Wow!!! Just luv hearing your sweet story and everyone else’s too! See …I’m not the only one waiting for your book of Memories! You are such an inspiration to each and everyone of us that have been fortunate to have ‘found’ your beautiful channel/blog …lol …whatever you are supposed to call it! Each and every red, white and blue project you have created thru the years is just awesome and such a tribute to your luv of our land! And I too also hope and pray that we rediscover the glory and honor and the beauty that this country so desperately needs. Well done sweet lady …hugs, Suzy Q

  3. Martie Rollin

    Oh, my gosh! Just look at all these beautiful projects in my favorite color combination!!! YES! Reading your childhood memories gives me a most welcome smile, for we seem to share many similar reminders of years gone by. I happen to have a younger brother who, as a little boy, would “guard” our front yard flagpole by marching back and forth, his broom handle pretend gun resting on his shoulder. He wanted to enlist in the Army, but quite sadly, his medical issues are not allowed in the military. As Scouts, all of us kids marched in community parades on every patriotic holiday. I, too, learned a bunch of patriotic songs in school…do they even do this any more in public school? Daily morning Pledge…it was such an honor to be the person to either hold the flag or to lead the Pledge!! Do you remember Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” on TV? Every time she sang, my family would stand in front of our TV and sing with her! HAPPY 4TH TO ALL!!

  4. Ann Heatherton

    Thanks so much for sharing childhood memories with us, Kathy. I am one of those overly patriotic ladies that wears flag-themed or stars-and-stripes embellished tops on the Fourth. I own several thanks to OneWorld. As a kid, we often drove to Kimball Park in National City for live fireworks, successfully protesting Dad’s suggestion that we watch them in the far-off distance from the kitchen window. My love for this country really blossomed while serving in the United States Army during the Viet Nam era. Marching proudly in a military parade to “You’re a Grand Old Flag” is one fond memory. Nothing has matched that since.

  5. jrichardson186492gmailcom

    Thank you for sharing your your childhood memory this 4th of July and thank you for taking the time to inspire us all with each and every card, folio and album you so graciously share! Happy 4th of July!

  6. Terry Dunlap

    Loved your reflection on your youth! (We must be about the same age. I’m 61.) Sadly, most children today don’t have those daily rituals in school and it certainly shows in the lack of patriotism in our country. Americana is my favorite decoration style and color scheme for many things. Our den has been Americana since well before Desert Storm. I do hope that in your paper crafting, you scrapbook as well as these are stories you should document for your children, grands and beyond. Thanks so much for sharing your talents, your love of our country and your personal history.

  7. MaryH

    The sharing of your beautiful work and narratives of past events and family are what make your site so inspirational, bringing forward our memories and allowing us to reaffirm our happy times and to strengthen us! Hopefully our generation has instilled a love of country and provided a solid basis of love and family in the newer generations. I know those that see your lovely work are inspired to be creative. I love how you used decorated all your 4th makes (especially Becca Feeken’s APGDOM JUL21). Wish there were some coordinated graduated Star hot plates & dies. Thanks Kathy for sharing your heart warming stories and projects – you always delight.

  8. Rebecca Nicklin

    Lovely remembrances, Kathy. Now…it’s time you start writing that book about growing up in Vermont. You have Independence Day covered with this heartwarming story!

  9. Janet Ingraham

    Heart warming, patriotic story you shared. Just telling a friend I would feel a lump in my throat from a grade school age when we saw the 4th fireworks or heard and sang patriotic songs. Happy 4th

  10. Gena Krannig

    Kathy, these projects are all so gorgeous! I have been loving every patriotic card, folio, etc. of yours now for several years. You never fail to inspire me. Your Mom’s flagpole story is absolutely wonderful! As always I love reading stories from your childhood. This one was very special. If we have a loving family, a wonderful country, and an awesome God watching over us, then we are rich beyond measure! Thank you for sharing with us! Have a safe and happy Independence Day! Hugs!

  11. Phyllis T.

    What a wonderful story you shared.
    I loved hearing about your family tradition.
    I also am so proud to be an American.
    God Bless America.

  12. Darlene Pemberton

    Wishing you a happy and safe 4th of July, Kathy. I was raised in a military family and my son is about to retire after 22 years in the United States Air Force. I, too, am a huge lover of our country!

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