Here, on the eve of July 4th, nostalgia is once again taking me back to those flag-waving, red, white and blue celebrations of the past.
Sparklers are at the center of my earliest Fourth of July recollections. When Dad finally gave in to my pleading and allowed me to hold one of these childhood favorites in my own tightly-clenched fist, I stood mesmerized by the tiny bursts of light surrounding the magic stick.
By the next July 4th, I was an old hand at this exciting sport.
I danced across the lawn with my sparklers held out at arm's length. And, wherever I swooped and dipped, a trail of miniature stars followed me.
Years later, with our own trio of children, we joined the hundreds of folks "oohing" and "ahhing" over the Findley Lake Fire Department's annual fireworks production. A favorite activity of such community leaders as long-time fire chief Bus Bradley and loyal fire department members Bill Himelein and Les Hurlburt, the pyrotechnic show was the traditional end of the community's Independence Day festivities.
Even though Bus, Bill and Les are gone now, the fireworks remain an important part of the July 4th celebration for residents of the village, as well as visitors from near and far.
In these days, with the country undergoing financial turmoil, weather-related chaos and a deepening political debate, there continues to be a special feeling of national pride and unity when the nation’s birthday rolls around.
Like our ancestors well over 200 years ago, the sight of the "rockets‚ red glare" in the night sky makes us all stand a bit taller, knowing we still live in "One Nation Under God," the greatest country on earth.