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Re: OT-What July Fourth Means to Me- Long!

Oh, I think depending on where you live, Jim, it is very close to the
real thing. In our little town, 4th of July is a big, big deal. Things
start happening the day before with an all day softball tournament that
the entire town turns up at sooner or later. The local bar hosts a
street dance with live bands that goes on all afternoon and half the
night. Families hang out at the park all that day and the next,
picnicking and playing. Relatives come to visit from out of town. Family
parties happening all over the place. Loved ones home from the military
are treated like royalty all over town. On the day of the fourth, people
pick out their parking spots at the park early. The volunteer fire
department starts early in the morning putting together the show for
that night. For a town of less than 700 people, we spend an average of
$12-15,000 dollars on fireworks, all paid for by volunteer donations.
Half our volunteer fire department pay out of their own pockets to get
licensed as pyrotechnicians. We have a parade that the entire town
participates in, one way or another. Lots of floats, horses,
politicians, candy, and best of all, fire trucks from as many
communities around as can come (this year it was 8!) Then by 7 in the
evening, there is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple of
thousand people milling around in town as people come from all over to
see our fireworks. It literally stops the traffic all up and down the
highway. And it is always, always preceded by the singing of the
National Anthem and the salute to the flag. It is a very patriotic deal
here where many, many of our young folks are serving in the military and
many of our older folks are veterans. This is not necessarily a time to
reflect on all that is wrong with our country, but rather to remember
that once upon a time, a few men changed the way they wanted to live and
in so doing, founded a great nation of people who value independence and
self-determination. I know of few people who would argue that in the
USA, for th

ose who are willing to work at it, almost nothing is unattainable. The
legend that Mr. Reagan chose to wrap those thoughts up in may not be any
where close to the truth (what legends really are), but I can live with
the sentiment underlying the words.

Melody, IA (Z 5/4)

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious."    
--Albert Einstein

 --- On Sat 07/03, james singer < jsinger@igc.org > wrote:
From: james singer [mailto: jsinger@igc.org]
To: gardenchat@hort.net
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004 17:38:54 -0400
Subject: Re: [CHAT] OT-What July Fourth Means to Me- Long!

Interesting, but hardly the real thing.<br><br>On Saturday, July 3,
2004, at 10:41 AM, Donna wrote:<br><br>> This was posted on another
list... Thought some might want to read<br>> it....<br>>
--------------------<br>><br>> What July Fourth Means to Me<br>> By
Ronald Reagan<br>><br>> For one who was born and grew up in the small
towns of the Midwest,<br>> there is a special kind of nostalgia about
the Fourth of July.<br>><br>> I remember it as a day almost as
long-anticipated as Christmas. This <br>> was<br>> helped along by the
appearance in store windows of all kinds of<br>> fireworks and colorful
posters advertising them with vivid pictures.<br>><br>> No later than
the third of July -- sometimes earlier -- Dad would bring<br>> home what
he felt he could afford to see go up in smoke and flame. We'd<br>> count
and recount the number of firecrackers, display pieces and other<br>>
things and go to bed determined to be up with the sun so as to offer
<br>> the<br>> first, thunderous notice of the Fourth of July.<br>><br>>
I'm afraid we didn't give too much thought to the meaning of the
day.<br>> And, yes, there were tragic accidents to mar it, resulting
from <br>> careless<br>> handling of the fireworks. I'm sure we're
better off today with<br>> fireworks largely handled by
professionals.<br>><br>> Yet there was a thrill never to be forgotten in
seeing a tin can blown<br>> 30 feet in the air by a giant "cracker" --
giant meaning it was about 4<br>> inches long. But enough of
nostalgia.<br>><br>> Somewhere in our growing up we began to be aware of
the meaning of days<br>> and with that awareness came the birth of
patriotism. July Fourth is <br>> the<br>> birthday of our nation. I
believed as a boy, and believe even more<br>> today, that it is the
birthday of the greatest nation on earth.<br>><br>> There is a legend
about the day of our nation's birth in the little <br>> hall<br>> in
Philadelphia, a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men<br>>
gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had

<br>> flouted<br>> the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to
sign the<br>> Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act
that the <br>> walls<br>> resounded with the words "treason, the
gallows, the headsman's axe," <br>> and<br>> the issue remained in
doubt.<br>><br>> The legend says that at that point a man rose and
spoke. He is <br>> described<br>> as not a young man, but one who had to
summon all his energy for an<br>> impassioned plea. He cited the
grievances that had brought them to this<br>> moment and finally, his
voice falling, he said, "They may turn every<br>> tree into a gallows,
every hole into a grave, and yet the words of that<br>> parchment can
never die.<br>><br>> To the mechanic in the workshop, they will speak
hope; to the slave in<br>> the mines, freedom. Sign that parchment. Sign
if the next moment the<br>> noose is around your neck, for that
parchment will be the textbook of<br>> freedom, the Bible of the rights
of man forever."<br>><br>> He fell back exhausted. The 56 delegates,
swept up by his eloquence,<br>> rushed forward and signed that document
destined to be as immortal as a<br>> work of man can be. When they
turned to thank him for his timely<br>> oratory, he was not to be found,
nor could any be found who knew who he<br>> was or how he had come in or
gone out through the locked and guarded<br>> doors.<br>><br>> Well, that
is the legend. But we do know for certain that 56 men, a<br>> little
band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged<br>>
their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their<br>>
lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all<br>>
preserved their sacred honor.<br>><br>> What manner of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists,<br>> eleven were merchants and
tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were<br>> soft-spoken men of
means and education; they were not an unwashed<br>> rabble. They had
achieved security but valued freedom more. Their<br>> stories have not
been told nearly eno

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