It started as a simple procession of farm tractors down an old dirt road.
And honestly, the annual Fourth of July parade in my husband’s small hometown hasn’t progressed to much more, except the road is now paved and some of the tractors a bit newer.
But what it stands for?
Is something that speaks volumes to the beauty of a family tradition.The tradition of coming together to honor the country that we are privileged to live in.
The reminder to take time off and spend it together.
The lesson in teaching our children about a day when all people, regardless of age, sex, race, orientation, or religious beliefs, can come together and say, Yes, I am proud to be an American.
Every year on the Fourth of July, our children will gather with the aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins (an ever- growing number of them), and I will most likely be pregnant again, and we will clamor to find the ever-precious snatch of shade near the sidewalk. They will wave excitedly when they see their uncles and grandpa ride the family tractors, proudly bearing the “In Memory Of” sign that humbly reminds us of the great-grandparents we all miss. They will scramble for the candy that is still passed out, even though everyone has warned it won’t be thrown in the parade this year.
And every year, no matter how much I dread the heat, or worry about how much sugar they will consume, or wonder if they will crash by the time fireworks are on the agenda, I look forward to the annual family tradition of the Fourth of July parade.
Because it’s more than a parade.
It’s about honoring those who have come before us.
Those first family members who plowed the fields and hung up dusty hats at the end of the day.
Those weary mothers who worried over sleeping babies and watched their loaves of bread rise in the oven.
It’s about the small towns and the close communities and the families and friends that make up our country.
And the knowledge that a simple dirt road…
Can lead to anything.
Image via Lauren Brusie