“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” Erma Bombeck
If you read my post that had 20 facts about me, you’d remember that I have lived in 3 small towns in Northern Arizona for my entire life. I’ve never lived in a big city, and I really don’t care to, I can visit one anytime I’d like. The small town life suits me just fine and this years’ 4th of July Celebration is a perfect example as to why I love it so much.
Saturday was packed with a family BBQ and a rodeo. Every single 4th of July Celebration I had a kid included these same family members (with quite a few new ones added) and a rodeo. I’m sad to admit that this was the very first year that my kids had ever been to this rodeo. I thought it’d be too hard to take all 5 of my kids so we never went. However, we all loved it, and I’m sure we’ll be back again next year.
Why do I love this rodeo?
Maybe it’s because as I walk among the thousands of patrons, I see so many familiar faces that I haven’t seen in ages. Yet here they are, year after year, keeping tradition.
It could be the lighting of the anvil that shakes the ground around you and sends off the loudest BOOM you’ve ever heard as it makes car alarms go off.
Or maybe it’s because of the food. Seriously, the food is always amazing.
It could be the excitement of wondering if the cowboy or the bronco/bull will win. Will the rodeo clown make it up the fence before the bull comes after him? Will the horse make it around the 3rd barrel without knocking it over? Will that 6-year-old boy ride that steer? (and even if he doesn’t finish the ride, you can still see his smiling face as he walks back to the chutes. )
But what I think it REALLY is, at least for me, is the love that is shown and felt for of our great country. Patriotic music blasts from the speakers. The National Anthem is sung by a Rodeo Queen, on her horse, as fireworks blast off and she flawlessly keeps the horse calm and shw sings on. A rodeo drill team maneuvers their horses, while holding flags as more patriotic songs play, and the crowd stands with a hand over their heart and a tear in their eye.
Okay, maybe it’s just me with the tear in my eye. I’m a softie when it comes to hearing my National Anthem, or the famous Lee Greenwood song, “I’m Proud to Be an American.” I cannot, for the life of me, listen to these two songs without my soul being stirred.America is hope. It is compassion. It is excellence. It is valor. -Paul Tsongas Click To Tweet
Then they end the rodeo with more great patriotic music and an up-close view of some amazing fireworks. You can hear the kids “ooo” and “aaahhh” with excitement and it puts a smile on my face every single time.
Tuesday was spent celebrating in our hometown and although we may be a very small town that doesn’t even have a grocery store, we know how to party.
Each year there is a kids parade. The Boy Scouts lead the parade by holding the flags of our country and state while a local man and his son play the National Anthem on the bagpipes. They are followed by kids of all ages who have decked out their bikes, quads, scooters, and dirt bikes with red, white and blue streamers and balloons.
If you blink, you may miss the parade, it’s literally that short. But by the cheering crowd and the excitement from the kids, you’d never know it was so small because over here, it’s a big deal.
Then we meet at the flagpole and watch as the Boy Scouts once again, perform their duty and raise the flag. The National Anthem was sung again, followed by another blast from the anvil and a prayer is said for all to hear.
One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation evermore. - Oliver Kolmes Click To Tweet
Then the games begin. Kids run around the park, going back and forth from games like the bean bag toss, or face painting and the dunk tank. You have no idea where they are at any given moment because they move from one spot to the next at lightning speed. Yet, you know that they are safe in this small town.
We have a horseshoe, basketball and volleyball tournament too. Now, volleyball is my favorite sport and so this is the highlight of the day for me personally. This year rocked because my team took the championship…that’s a first for me, so I have to document it and remember it!
After all of the fun at the park we have another family BBQ and then head out to the desert for an amazing firework show that appears right above this hill. Kids run around and we light off our own small fireworks as we wait for it to get dark. We eat more food, drink more soda and sit in the bed of the truck as we watch the night sky light up. Then 45 minutes later we are loaded up and in a long line of traffic, headed back home. We are exhausted from the events of the day, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve never been in a big city for the 4th of July and I’m totally okay with that, because even though we are a small town, there’s nothing small about the way we love and celebrate this great country.
Have you experienced a big city or small town 4th of July celebration? Which one did you prefer and why? I’d love to hear what your favorite part of this holiday is.