Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day

I have never been a fan of the way we celebrate Independence Day.

As my friend, Tony, so eloquently stated on Facebook, "I have a terrific idea. Let's celebrate the founding of our country in the most pro-American, patriotic way possible....Dumping half a BILLION dollars in the Chinese government through fireworks sales. And, don't forget about these annual added benefits....400 Americans loose eye sight, 20,000 fires are started, 9300 people are seriously injured and 4 people die. Brilliant America, just brilliant."

Nevertheless, I suppose we should be thankful for our freedom to give to China, lose body parts, and start fires.  Don't get me wrong, I really am grateful to be an American and I'm grateful for the freedoms that I have.  I'm even more grateful for the people who so selflessly fight so that I may enjoy those freedoms.

Last year, I went to Ralston for the 4th, and it was the first year I actually enjoyed the holiday.  In Ralston, they celebrate it well.

The biggest event of the day is the parade, which lasts nearly two hours!  In my dinky hometown, we're lucky to have a parade that lasts twenty minutes.

People are pretty intense.  Days in advance, people come and rope off sections of grass along the parade route to reserve space for their families.  Also, people wear the holiday:

(Attention, Mom:  Even though I glorify doing so in this post, it is still not OK to wear the holiday).

Their parade has all of the staple entries:

The Shriners:

Classic Cars:

And, my least favorite, clowns:

But, they also have some unique entries, like:

Cute, old men dancing on a float

Some sort of phone?

Cops and prisoners

Yikes!  One escaped and hid in our tent!

Workers from the haunted house

A pirate ship

Still an unknown to me...

Google knows nothing about this bunch.  That worries me.

My very favorite acts of the day were the step teams:

I also very much enjoyed this last performance when one of the spectators decided to try to join in.  So funny!

The rest of the day was spent eating comfort foods and hanging out with family and friends.

I was told not to post this picture anywhere, but I don't think
either of them read this blog.  I think it's cute!

Isn't Baby Avery beautiful?  Oh, and you are, too, Ashley!

Later in the evening, everybody goes to watch the city fireworks.  Again, people come days in advance to stake tarps into the ground or to use caution tape to rope of sections.  Ashley and Jeremy's friend, Casey, and her family provide a huge tarp for extended family and friends.

It was a great show, but I am no good at photographing fireworks.  So, you'll just have to trust me.

Fortunately, after the show was over, Casey's husband (a former Husker football player) offered to carry all of our stuff back to our cars:

Thanks, Mike!

I am so grateful to Ashley and Jeremy for allowing me to spend this holiday with their families and friends.  And I'm also grateful for this holiday that reminds us how fortunate we are to live where we do.

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