Bring on the parades—this is the 4th of July

Cake made by Marth Smith to honor new citizen Shaheena Arthur

This is the Fourth of July holiday weekend and in true American fashion many communities are exercising their right to open debate.

As communities prepare for the big celebration of America’s independence, many people are voicing doubts over everything from whether or not candy should be thrown into the crowds lining parade routes to how many politicians can march in the parade or whether or not we should even celebrate our independence with parades and fireworks. I say Bah Humbug to all of the Scrooges!

I love everything about the 4th of July. I love the parades with the bands, countless American flags, endless number of politicians, civic organizations, boy scouts and girl scouts, swim teams, little league teams, neighborhood kids riding decorated bicycles, military units and honor guards, screaming fire engines, and miles of red, white, and blue crape paper. I love it all!  This is true Americana—a microcosm of our nation passing before our eyes.

My heart swells with pride when the flag flutters in the breeze and I have a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat as military units and aging veterans go by. I can never hear the national anthem without choking back tears thinking of the many sacrifices made so I can stand proudly and proclaim I am an American. The business of politics can get pretty nasty but I am thankful I live where we can openly voice our disagreements without fear of imprisonment or death.

I admire the immigrants who left everything behind to come to a new land. I wonder what my ancestors endured coming to this country. I think of my original ancestor who was brought to these shores to fight for King George in 1774 but became a turncoat and fought for the colonists under Col. Washington. What motivated him to make such a bold move? I find a hint in the family history that was recorded the 14th Day of January 1933. It reads:   

 Great Grandfather Moore, whose name was James Moore was born near Dublin, Ireland, and came to this country with a regiment of Irish soldiers, attached to the British Army during the Revolutionary War. In fact, his name was not Moore, but Fitzpatrick, but being Irish, and not at all in sympathy with the British, but knowing the methods of the British in his homeland, he lost no time in leaving the British cause and enlisting in the Continental Army under Washington, and took the maiden name of his Mother, which was Moore. Since that time the name of Moore has been borne by all of his descendents.

This country has always been the land of immigrants, the melting pot of nations, and I am puzzled at the animosity toward certain groups. Each ethnic wave that came here endured a certain amount of prejudice but still people came. I am happy to say I have friends from many different nations and I call it my smorgasbord of friends. We have joyfully celebrated as each one has taken the big step to become a citizen. Over the years I have known people from Cuba, Mexico, Germany, and China who took the oath to become naturalized citizens. One of our country’s newest citizens is our neighbor, Shaheena Arthur from Pakistan, who became a citizen on June 21. She was so excited to become a citizen and our small group of neighbors who helped her celebrate was happy for her.

So bring on the parades, the bands, the flags, and the politicians. Bring on the beer, brats, and burgers and cap off the night with a grand display of fireworks. This is our nation’s birthday, its celebration of independence, and this is how we celebrate. We cannot let this momentous occasion be lost to history for if we don’t celebrate then it will be forgotten. It is a way of bringing everyone together to celebrate something we all believe in—the greatness of our nation.

 Somehow we have all learned to live together and combine our many experiences to forge one great nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


New citizen Shaheena Arthur with husband Lenin Kailasammani and daughter Saira Mani