We took the kids to our community's fireworks show again this year. We always get sentimental on Independence Day. Besides the fact that the holiday appeals to our patriotic spirits, Dwayne and I went to see fireworks in downtown Charleston, SC on our first date way back on July 4, 2000.

Avril had fun crawling in and picking the lush, green grass. Norah played with sparklers till she burned her finger on one of the hot sticks and declared with real self-pity, "I don't think I will want to play with them again next year."

Halfway through the show, I realized I hadn't actually seen that many fireworks go off. I was too busy watching my family watch them. I was enjoying their joy. Avril pointed up the whole time and said perfect ew's and ah's, then she'd looked back at us to see that we were looking, too.

After the show, they turned the lights back on in the stadium. We decided not to fight the crowds, so we just sat and had snacks we brought in our bags and cold drinks from our cooler. Dwayne took the moment to read the Declaration of Independence out loud, something we try and do every year. The powerful language in the Declaration always brings tears to my eyes. Some people in the crowd saw me crying and I was a little embarrassed at myself.

But, I am so grateful for the faith and courage our founding fathers expressed. I know that God is the God of all nations and his heart is for the whole world, but I am thankful that we live in America and that that still means we can build our family, worship openly and pursue the life we want for ourselves and our children.


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