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The greatest legacy one can pass on to one's children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith. (Billy Graham)
So, what does Independence Day mean to you? Perhaps parades, fireworks, family picnics, concerts in the park, baseball games or even a day off work, and along with these fun times, is sprinkled in a few political speeches and ceremonies.
And with this all-important celebration honoring our great America's birthday comes the many public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is certainly a true National Day for our beloved United States, in honor of the birth of our nation. The beginning of America’s free liberty. (Psalm 20:4)
Now, just sit back and reminiscence a bit, as you enjoy this blog entitled. “Sweet Tea and Puddin”
Having growing up in the South, like many other good Southern bred men, I just loved the picnic aspect. And included with all the victuals was always that big glass of sweet tea and Grandma's famous banana pudding. This sweet dessert was not like today's quickly thrown-together instant pudding and fixings. It was from Grandma's secret homemade recipe. How she always managed to keep the bananas from turning black is beyond me.
The only drawback for our young minds, or should I say our young bellies, was having to wait for what seemed to be an eternity till all the celebration festivities were over, and we could chow down.
First came the big parade. Next, was the all-important famous family reunion, or picnic as we kids called it. However, to start it all off was Uncle Bill’s traditional religious dedication and prayer of blessing the food, and a little bit more. He always seemed to wrap his prayer around an old-fashioned evangelistic sermon, which he would give in the traditional manner. And, he would always quote his favorite scripture verse.
“But let the righteous be glad; let them exult before God; Yes, let them rejoice with gladness.” (Psalm 68:3)
The family always seemed to look forward to Uncle Bill's presentation, as this was always the picnic's customary practice. But for our young, hungry appetites, it seemed to be endless. Nonetheless, we all just loved Uncle Bill who always would brag about being a veteran of two wars. And yes, Uncle Bill was always dressed in full uniform, with all the bright, shiny accoutrements pinned to his tunic, including his squared-away cap.
And it never failed, at the conclusion of Uncle Bill's presentation, Mom would always make the same remark, "I hope the ice tea hasn't melted."
Then came the "dinner on the ground" as the old folks called it, on which we kids always pigged out. But we always managed to hold back for that second helping of Grandma's banana pudding.
Later on, in life, after meeting my lovely wife-to-be, I was fortunate to attend her family reunion. This gala affair always came the first Sunday after the fourth of July. I didn't know until later in life, that it was a tradition to bring one's spouse-to-be to the reunion for a look-over and family approval. Well, I guess I made the cut, as we have been together for many years.
Also, I didn't realize that another of her family reunion traditions was that the men of the family would quietly, and without much ado, see who could out-eat the others.
However, I surely failed in this contest, as I didn't even come close. My defense was simply that I didn't want to make a pig of myself in front of my future wife.
I guess one of the most exciting adventures of the family picnic was riding the park carousel with my future wife. I was very careful to let her pick the tamer animals, while I did the manly thing of choosing the more vicious ones.
After all the family picnic hoopla came the quiet time, having to sit quietly while the grownups mused over coffee. What a bore, especially all those stale warmed-over war stories.
And yes, this tradition continues to this very day, as the wife's family reunion picnic still goes on each year. Oh, loved ones have come and gone, but the harmony remains.
Traditionally, Independence Day was our family’s one day of fun, as this blog alludes. We must always protect the reason for this special day. Since its beginning, there have been many sacrifices to hold this day special in many hearts.
“ When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separation and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the cause which impel them to the separation.” (The Declaration of Independence)
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA”
Recently, while sitting in a local shopping mall, I had the distinct privilege of watching a moving display of patriotism. Sitting across from me was a distinguished senior citizen, who was proudly displaying a WWII cap. Although seemly holding up well for his age, you could see the evidence of his battle scars. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a young man came walking up, shook the old warrior's hand, thanked him for his service to his country, then disappeared in the crowd. Yes, it brought tears to my eyes, as it did the older gentleman. All those sitting around me then broke out in spontaneous applause. Yes, our country is not dead yet. What a shining example of the Independence Day. meaning!
Our many national symbols evoke feelings of patriotism in all of us. One such emblem is our Grand Old Flag. Down through the centuries, our loved ones, courageous men and women all, have given their best that it may forever proudly wave.
Thus, in the words of Francis Scott Key, “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave?” Yes, it does, and all of us should pray that it will continually wave until our Lord returns. And yes, I always stand with hand held over my heart, as I sing.
So, go out and attend that old-fashioned Independence Day family picnic, but don't forget to thank God for all the blessings this day has bestowed on this great free country of ours. Amen!
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