Ole Pappy

Celebrating a very special 4th of July

Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

The Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.

Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies.

Firework shows are held in many states, and many fireworks are sold for personal use or as an alternative to a public show.

In fact, I’ve become a fireworks connoisseur of sorts. My wife and I have traveled to as many as three fireworks displays in one weekend.

We even drove 30 miles two weeks ago to a community celebration just to see the fireworks. But I’ve not known the thrill of watching fireworks like I did when I was a soldier in Vietnam.

I didn’t know it was coming. In fact, nobody did. We’d been in a particularly rough stretch of battle, were suffering from fatigue and other maladies and we knew it was “about” the Fourth of July.

In Vietnam, the days kinda ran together. We often felt as though nobody really cared if we were fighting this war or not.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that folks back home were laughing, watching fireworks, eating good food and enjoying life.

And I was miserable. We were sitting around a small campfire, depressed, wondering if we were ever going home — when suddenly, “Bombs burst in the air,” ... again, again and again. No, it wasn’t spectacular like the shows you see these days.

But if you could have heard the cheers that went up from our boys with each colorful blast into the sky, you’d have understood. This was a “little bit of home” delivered to a tired, lonely bunch of GI’s.

It was, at that moment, “The greatest present I could have received.” Today, I watch the fireworks, enjoy the spectacular show ... but every time, my mind drifts to that time when fireworks delivered a little bit of home to some soldiers much in need of a little cheer.

So enjoy the Fourth of July — but remember, we’re celebrating our Freedom, and a price was paid for it.

LAUGH A LITTLE: Call it by another name! The five-year-old boys was working with a speech therapist on the ch sound, which came out k.

The therapist asked him to say chicken. He responded with kitchen. They tried again and again, but it always came out kitchen.

Undeterred, the speech therapist pushed him for one more try.

The boy sighed and said, “Why don’t we just call it a duck?”

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” Ole Pappy was a great believer in working through your problems, with the idea there was, “Light at the end of the tunnel.” Thanks Ole Pappy!

Byron Higgin

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