It’s the Fourth of July.
Last year, I was in Maine. This Fourth of July, I am in Mississippi.
What a difference, and I’m not talking about the weather.
Today, we are grilling out, riding a boat across a lake, enjoying a day without work, watching fireworks after sunset.
In Maine, last year, they were a bit more reverent.
In Maine, they start putting out the flags about a week before the Fourth. Everywhere you look, there is a lot of Red, White and Blue.
American Flags are in front of every house, every storefront. We were on the seacoast, the lobster boats carried American Flags and bunting. Village churches that witnessed the Revolutionary War, today they are dressed in their Red, White and Blue best. Every village plans a birthday party.
Down here in the South, the fireworks stands go up a week before. We burn a forest of charcoal, and cook a hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork and baby back ribs. We make enough potato salad to feed an army.
There’s a lot to celebrate. After all, it’s America’s birthday. Time to party.
But, the people in Maine, Massachusetts and those Northern States, do their celebrating a bit different. I noticed a reverence that I’ve never seen in the South. Granted, we were a wayward child at one time. It took a while before we were welcomed home again. There are still some hard feelings in Vicksburg.
In the Northeast, the old homes, county court houses and one room schools still stand. They were there for the revolution. They witnessed the birth of our country. The villagers show respect.
Today, metal signs are out front. Reminding us.
“Here in 1776, General so and so formed up a militia to defend the town against British invaders.”
“Here’s where American Patriots battled three days against the British.”
“On this spot, 100 American Patriots died, fighting the British.”
Up North, it was a battle ground. American men stood their ground. They fought for their beliefs. And, they won.
The taverns still stand, the inns are still there.
Here in the South, for the most part, we missed that. The Fourth of July is a weekend party with fireworks and adult beverages.
In New England, they remember the battles and the sacrifices. The Daughters of the American Revolution open their doors and invite Americans to celebrate.
Of course, they don’t know about pulled pork, hickory smoked baby-back ribs and pecan pies. Heck they don’t even know how to say pecan. (It’s PE-Kon, not Pee-KAN.) They like to do hot dogs, ice cream and something called a bratwurst.
But, I’ll give them credit for beating the British and giving birth to our great country.
And, my friends, that’s cause enough for a big celebration, with fireworks and patriotic music.
Happy Birthday to the United States of America.
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