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.
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
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!