That’s what our 4 year old shouted during a pause in the Fireworks that year. The crowd responded with a collective, “aww” after hearing his squeaky little voice express his heartfelt sincerity.
There we were, the four of us, taking in the Ft. Bend County 4th of July festivities in Sugarland, Texas. Cotton candy, snow cones, BBQ pork, turkey legs, pickles and crowds. June bugs, carnival rides, and country music blaring in the background. Hot summer sun, slices of watermelon and try-your-luck-here games of chance and skill. Spreading a blanket out over the dusty ground, passing the bug spray, and leaning back to watch the dazzling fireworks fill the sky. Pure summer bliss.
I’ve always loved our holidays, but Independence Day might be my favorite. Why? Because I’m a new citizen; in May, 2008, I stood with 78 other individuals from 34 different countries to take my Oath of Citizenship. It was one of the proudest moments of my life. (more about my journey here.)
The thing is … I could be a citizen for 40 years and I’ll still choose to say that I’m a “new” citizen. Why? Because I don’t know how else to communicate the significance of it all to me.
I’m a new citizen and today is Independence Day.
A day of parades and tributes, picnics and boat rides. A day for family, for visiting, for cheering and for reflection. A day off work for many, and a day at work for some (thank you to our military, police, fire, rescue and other “essential” workers who keep us all safe). It’s a day to slather on the sunscreen and take in a ball game, dish up some potato salad and enjoy a cold drink and later, spread out the blankets and camp chairs to take in the fireworks. It’s a day to remember that there are still many around the world who do not have the basic freedoms Americans enjoy every day.
It’s a day for gratitude.
I’m a new citizen; God Bless America … my home, sweet home.