There’s nothing like the Fourth

Published 11:08 am Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Well, this year I have the privilege of writing the July 4 column. Or, should I say, I have the responsibility of coming up with something inspiring to say about our country’s independence.

It’s a strange role reversal, really, because most of the people reading this column are older than me and probably much wiser. I should be the one reading your thoughts about the Fourth, instead of vice-versa.

As it is, my Fourth of July memories would probably strike a chord with anybody who grew up in rural, small town America (cue the John Mellencamp song, depending on how cheesy you want this column to be).

My concept of July 4 has changed quite a bit from when I was a kid. Back then, it was a hodgepodge of sights and sounds that included the whirring of an ice cream freezer, and the cackling of relatives who were just happy to have a day off.

And then there was the irresistible smell of the grill that saturated the air with hints of juicy deliciousness.

But what we always looked forward to the most was sitting in the backyard and watching the City of Clanton’s annual fireworks show, which could be observed with ease over the tree line. Some of the trees have grown by now, but you can still find a place to watch the fireworks without having to actually go to the park.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of a toy watch that had Popeye the Sailorman on it. One year, I decided to wear this for the Fourth because it was red, white and blue. It didn’t keep good time, but it had moving parts and Popeye did something funny with his pipe.

Those are good memories to have. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time on the Fourth, but what’s it all about? A lot of people put their lives on the line so we could celebrate this great day. Many of them lost their lives.

Every family should observe a moment of silence to think about this. It’s the least we can do, and it will make our Fourth a lot more meaningful.

Note: Scott Mims is the news editor of The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Friday.