Submitted by: Michael Zuidema, District Director of Operations, Nashville, TN
We all celebrate the independence of our country differently, as individuals, families, and organizations. I like to take time to reflect on what it means to me by thinking about the risk and ultimate sacrifice made by a few Americans over 240 years ago. I do this by reading about our country’s founders and the struggles that led them to make the decisions that ultimately brought us, as Americans, to where we are today. This reflection is something I started a few years ago and it gives me a sense of pride to know more about the process each year. “We” are the United States of America and it makes me proud to say it!
My family makes every effort to come together around the 4th of July. My parents, sister, brothers, nieces, and nephews all come together from across the country to have fun. We do the traditional barbeque, fireworks, and summer fun water sports. Over the past few years, however, we’ve made it a special point to slow down and actually appreciate Independence Day for the historical event it is.
One recent change is that before every evening meal we all write down a small thing that we are thankful for and place in a safe spot. Then during our dinner together, we share our personal thanks with the group before we eat. We found that writing these thoughts down and taking a minute to say them out loud gives the moment special meaning to the speaker. The children ultimately make the biggest impression and usually prompt an equal number of laughs and tears. Before we leave our summer retreat, we all promise to gather soon and especially commit to our July 4thtradition at “Gramps’ estate in the woods”.
Happy 4th of July to you and cheers to your traditions!