Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 4th - My Least Favorite Holiday

News shocker - I'm not a fan of July 4th.  

What's that, you cry?!  How is it possible for a military spouse to not enjoy massive amounts of grilled food on her country's birthday?  How can she not shed a few tears every time the anthem is played or a flag waves?  How can she not break out a red, white, and blue outfit on the most sacred day in the US?

In short, because it's just another holiday that is commercialized, overly busy, full of scheduled expectations, and soaking wet in disingenious patriotism. 

There, I'm officially a party pooper :)  

You have to understand that I hail from a small town that lives and breathes for its July 4th celebration.  The population doubles from a cozy 10,000 to a nauseating 20,000+.  The crowds get even more insane depending on which political pundit makes an appearance in a given year.  

The parade is one long commercial for local businesses, a reverence for all of the area sports teams, and a deluge of church pamphlets.  The carnival downtown is as you would expect - overrun with teenagers on a sugar high and iffy looking rides.  I'll give them credit for the fireworks though.

Out of my 28 years, I have spent virtually every Independence Day in Clear Lake.  I have been in 9 parades - 1 time as a flag, 6 times playing an instrument, and twice herding students with instruments.  I have played in 8 evening concerts for the Municipal Band and would be happy if I never heard a march again. 

Aside from the obligatory funnel cake, I am 4th of July-out.  Seriously.  After Hillary Clinton and Bill walked the parade a few years back and there were 40,000 people in town, I vowed to NEVER be in Clear Lake on the 4th.  

It's not just a battling the crowds issue.  Or sweating like a pig at a hog roast while you watch the parade.  Or awkardly running into people from the past who have the same Leave It To Beaver worldview.  Or that when my husband's deployed and I see him being treated like a disposable tool (more so than usual), Uncle Sam and I tend to exchange dirty looks.   
It's simply the general hullabaloo that goes with the 4th.  To me, it's become obnoxious.  It's so American - big, brassy, and busy.

I know, that's what people love about it.  I'm not knocking the Statue of Liberty and all she stands for.  And I'm certainly not hating on all of you grill-happy, sparkler-holding, parade-loving junkies out there either.  I just cringe at the thought of being subjected to so much stimulation in one day.  

I relish that I have tomorrow off and no where to go, no one to see, no schedule to hold to.  It's my personal independence day from work and teaching and I'm going to spend it patriotically watching movies and reading.  

Because that's one things we Americans need more of - rest and relaxation.

How are you spending your 4th?


  1. We've been avoiding the celebrations at the Lake for years. Too many hot, cranky people, too much noise, too expensive and too many jingoistic rantings... Just too much for this introvert.

  2. The last couple years we (the girls and i) have spent the fourth at my in-laws house. The kids adore their Mimi, get to eat more candy in one day than they get at home in a month, run in the sprinkler and stay up late. I get to have adult conversation and eat and drink food that i neither have to cook OR wash dishes for.

    Unfortunaty Joe doesn't get holidays. I wish that his bosses could have some sort of rotating holiday schedule but i suppose that would be impossible to keep track of. As it stands, if he wants a day off, be it Jul 4 or Dec 25 he has to take a vacation day to do it. And as much as the guy adores beer and BBQ its just not THAT important to him to use a precious vacation day.

    One of my high scholar friends (from WA) is a scout in the Army and is currently in Afghanistan here's what he put on his FB yesterday. I think he said it best.

    " Happy Independance day everyone! I hope that this year and the years to come it is not just a day to get drunk and celebrate but you remember as well how and why we are all free. The men and women how have fought, died, stood up to, made plans, thought outside the box, and decided "I have had enough and I am going to do something to make a difference for my country, my family, and my way of life". so this day of celebration enjoy where you are, safe or in harms way and know that you are free because of them and because of who you are too. Enjoy your freedom because it comes at a cost, and having seen people who are not free we have it good! so Happy 4th and God bless 'Merica!!!"

  3. My red, white, and blue collection only comes out on Election Day. Why? Because I'm awesome.

    Also, I truly do appreciate the traditional barbecue, but in my family a grill-worthy holiday is better known as "any day when it's not snowy, rainy, or icy," so I don't think I appreciate the Independence Day version as much as most people do. I helped my mom load two shopping carts' worth of Kingsford charcoal into her SUV last year. It was both horrifying and badass.