Independence Day

fireworks, holiday, nature, Photography

Independence Day is one of the four federal holidays of the year. It’s celebrated because in 1776 the 13 colonies became free of British ruling. The document wasn’t ready until July 4th. However, it was actually voted on July 2, 1776 and they didn’t ring the liberty bell until July 8, 1776 when they did the first public reading.

Every year since, the holiday has been celebrated. There’s been music, parades, speeches, readings and even artillery salutes (back when cannons were a thing). However, one of the most famed celebrations is that of fireworks.

For me, Independence Day isn’t the same without a few fireworks, even if they are the small kind, as long as there is some kind of sparkle. The other thing that marks the holiday is my family reunion, which has been long going (now at 102 years). It was started more than a lifetime ago in 1913.

It’s a bit of a drive to get to the reunion and quite honestly I only know a few people. But, I have fond memories of the past reunions. Growing up I’d look forward to visiting the carnival (on the same grounds). There was also the cake walk and children’s games. I remember meeting over at Grandma and Pap’s house and all piling in the car for the drive. However, now my husband and I drive together, as the family has gotten too large to all fit in one car.

The drive is long, but the part that’s not spent on the highway is beautiful. There are winding roads and trees for miles. You also drive through quaint and outdated towns, a reminder of times passed.

We are often in too much of a hurry to get there to take photos of the journey along the way. We also often leave too late from the reunion to get good daylight pictures. However, this past Saturday we left early from the reunion and the drive was extra intriguing with the fog hanging above the mountains. Some photos are in the gallery below. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of our cool surprise, a black bear crossing the road. I wasn’t fast enough with the camera…

When we got home I told my husband it didn’t quite feel like July 4th. We hadn’t seen any fireworks yet. It’s funny how these things can become a staple of the holiday…

We looked up the local listings for fireworks and found some that were only 10-15 minutes away. They were to start at 9:30 pm and we had read that at 9:15 pm. So, we left pretty immediately and made it on time. However, they did start a few minutes early (which actually helped us find them).

We pulled over in a grassy yard by a church, where several people had lined up with their camping chairs. There was something special about it. It wasn’t a huge crowd where we were stuffed together like sardines. We were there, sporadically placed through a large grassy field in what felt like the middle of nowhere. It was the perfect conclusion to our July 4th celebrations.

Independence day is a reminder of our freedom and history. But, it’s also a time when family and friends gather together to celebrate with one another. What does it mean to you? What are your usual July 4th plans?