My thoughts tonight turn toward family and holidays. The two are intertwined in my mind, inseparable, commingled. In my youth, I celebrated few holidays. Christmas and Easter were the main ones. Little family association was present in those days. As I grew older, I became more closely associated with my parents and siblings. Birthdays became important and attendance mandatory. To Christmas and Easter we added Fourth of July (also my brother's birthday), Armistice day (my sister's birthday), Mother's day (my birthday, often), and Father's day (often my father's birthday and usually only a day away from my parents wedding anniversary). My mother's birthday was the 23rd of December and I recall that she always felt cheated because she often got "combined" birthday/Christmas presents. A mistake I never once made.
Because so many members of my family celebrated birthdays on or near holidays, the two were as one to me. Now that those people are not much a part of my life, I find myself reflecting on the holiday aspect of celebratory dates rather than their personal implications.
July 4th means little to me as a celebration of our nation's birth. I'm as patriotic as the next fellow and take some pride in being an American. Our celebration seems crass to me, though. My sensibilities are not offended by the hoopla that often occurs in conjunction with this date, but I am distressed by the things that are stressed and by the people who do so. The fourth should not be "Will Smith Movie Release Day". I don't like that. Politicians should be prohibited from campaigning within a week of the fourth. I dislike a man running for some ignoble office co-opting the actions of our founding fathers to make his mean achievements seem somehow more grandiose.
My idea of a great Independence Day celebration involves the Boston Pops.