Last night my youngest daughter made me go to Eureka Lake to watch the fireworks. It was very hot as we sat and waited for the sun to set and the sky to darken. Three loud booms announced the beginning, as we all stood to sing the National Anthem.
It has been quite some time since I went to see fireworks. Normally, I stay home in the air conditioning and listen to the booms from the east, the west, and the south. But not last night. Last night I watched and remembered.
I remembered having picnics at Eureka Lake as a little girl. Dad and my uncles fished while Mom and my aunts would sit and talk. My cousins and I would walk, swing, teeter-totter, and slide. We’d throw rocks in the lake (far away from the fishermen). We’d talk and make up stories. And we waited knowing we’d get to see fireworks that night. Laying on the blanket we’d ooo and ahhhh to beautiful lights flashing in the sky.
I remembered watching the fireworks from my daddy’s shoulders one year when we were in California.
I remembered sitting in a small-town park in Iowa watching the fireworks and celebrating the news that I was going to be a mom.
I remembered that two years later we watched the fireworks as we sat on our deck in Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado. And my little girl was scared by the rolling thunder of the fireworks as it roared up the canyon.
I remembered sitting in a parking lot in Washington two years later and feeling the baby kick at each boom. Feeling Karrie’s little hand patting my tummy and telling the baby it would be OK.
I remembered years of taking Katie to see the fireworks at Eureka Lake and missing Karrie because she always spent the 4th at her dad’s home in Colorado. We made up a game of ‘claiming’ the fireworks: red was for Katie, purple for Karrie, green for me, blue for Grampa, gold for Gramma. It made us feel like Karrie was with us.
Funny how that game came back last night as Kate and I sat and watched.
I thought of how it must have felt to our Founding Fathers and the early patriots, to know that the country was free. Free to rule. Free to believe. Free to worship.
When the finale began with light after light, boom after boom, large, loud, and directly overhead, I was overwhelmed by the sight and the feeling of thankfulness for this country where God has allowed me to live. By the feeling of patriotism – thankful for those who lived to bring justice, those who died to keep our freedom, and those who live every day respecting the United States of America – one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
” if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14