Monday evening, July 3rd, Lorna and I made our way over to the State House lawn in Montpelier for something that used to be a never-miss family tradition. We went there for the music, the sights, the fireworks, and the general celebration of Independence Day, as we had done seemingly countless times before. In recent years, mostly due to the pandemic and factors surrounding that, we had not attended the celebration. In fact, I think it has been five years or more since we had been in our capital city to celebrate the 4th, (on the 3rd as it is always done there).
I must tell you; I was so impressed this year. We almost passed on going over as the weather was ‘iffy’, but went anyway; our daughter Emily and her family were going to attend for sure. (George, make a mental note: If you’re ever caught with such a decision again, do the ‘go anyway’ thing again). The music, the vendors, the excitement of the evening was all there, just as it used to be. In fact, I didn’t remember it being so much fun before. Little children danced to the great, upbeat tunes of a wonderful live band. So did teens, young adults, and older folks. I saw one man, likely in his eighties, wearing an old Star Trek shirt, palm-tree-embellished pants, and a wild hat, almost dancing with the cane he was using to get around.
One thing that truly struck me was just how many different types, ages, ethnicities, purposes, and other things I can’t put my finger on, were represented in the vast crowd there. There were what I would describe as old ‘hippies’, (I kind of identify with them, but not completely. I’ve never known why. Maybe it’s the music). There were tattoo-covered bodies, families with young children, babies, conservatives, liberals, (I am assuming) and even a group of white-clad Navy sailors manning a booth and mingling with the crowd. Not to mention there was a great assortment of pets, mostly dogs, that were brought to the show. Everyone seemed to be having a blast! It was simply fantastic!
I will admit that there was a time in my life when I might not have appreciated some of the people I saw there on Monday night. That is to my discredit. Certainly, I would still not agree with every opinion embodied on that great lawn that night. But that’s okay. I have learned slowly over the years, sometimes the hard way, that I am nobody’s judge. Not even a little bit.
I came away from that Monday night with a strong realization that differences really are what make us that breed known as Americans, as they always have. What I had witnessed once again was a great coming together of every type and stripe of person imaginable, in the city’s yearly celebration of what makes our country so special. Namely, it’s independence; granting each of us the freedom to be, to dress, to express, and to live as we please.
My own position is that God, in His great mercy, kept the rain away Monday night, and provided a cool breeze, a big crowd, and even a rainbow before the sun set. Then the city of Montpelier treated us to an awesome and awe-inspiring fireworks show.
I must remember next year, if the weather is ‘iffy’, to go anyway!
A very happy “after the 4th” to you and yours.