This time of year brings all kinds of experiences and memories, yet the most important thing any one of us can do is take a moment and reflect on what our freedom means, the cost of that freedom, and how each of us can often take it for granted.
Tradition seems to be the theme for many during this July 4, and Amanda Turner said that this year is no exception for her and her family.
“My family tradition started when I was little,” said Turner in a telephone interview. “We would spend all day at Weeks Park. We would go to my momma’s and have hot dogs and hamburgers and then sit in her front yard and eat watermelon,” she remembered.
“Now I go to the park and work during the fireworks,” Turner added. “Last year the girls did like I did (at my momma’s), but this year they will go to the park.”
This year Newton Grove will have their fireworks and celebration for the weekend on Sunday.
“I remember looking at the stars during 4th of July,” said Lela Pell, a third-grader. Fireworks have always been one of her favorite activities, she said.
“It does mean a lot to me,” explained Sandra Hammick, emotionally, about the Fourth of July and the many celebrations marking the country’s birthday. “I always like to have a flag flying.”
“And then you think about what men have gone through, so we can do that,” said Hammick, a Salemburg resident. “What it means to be free, to be able to raise a flag, unlike Iraq or the Ukraine.”
“It does mean a lot to me to be in a country that has freedom and the reasons why we have that freedom,” Hammick said.
“Too many don’t think about why we are free and what it takes to be free,” she reiterated. “We need to understand the reasons that we celebrate and the sacrifices that we made.”
“We have a great nation, and we need to realize what it is going to take to keep it that way, to keep it one nation under God,” she added.
Sharon Harper agrees.
“I love the Fourth of July because it is the day we celebrate our independence,” said Sharon Harper. “And it’s my husband’s birthday.”
For Adriana Simmons it’s about remembering.
“Independence day is a day where we are reminded to take a break from the rat race and focus on that that makes being an American so unique: freedom,” she said.
“Whether we choose to celebrate that freedom with cookouts and fireworks or in our pajamas binge watching Netflix for 24 hours, the fact that we have the ability to make that choice, that ‘independent’ choice, is what makes me proud and thankful to be an American,” she added.
“All it would have taken was to be born a little further away and the fourth of July would just be another day in who knows what kind of life,” she added. “And likely not one I chose for myself. I’m more than glad to be reminded that I’m free.”
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd