By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Writer, B&R
A recent report estimates over 43 million people will travel during the 4th of July holiday. Whether your family plans to journey to other areas or plans a stay-at-home holiday, these educational, fun, and creative activities will make this a holiday to remember. Celebrate family, faith and patriotic community events this Independence Day.
Worship together as a family on July 2, the Sunday before Independence Day. As many relatives gather for family reunions, set an example to the younger generation that attending church is a priority with your clan.
Salute the Christian flag as well as the American flag. Check with your pastor in advance for this part of the service. Teach children the words to this salutation. If a Christian flag is not available, ask if your family can donate one for the church. Perhaps this could be given in memory or in honor of a beloved relative.
Plan a 4th of July parade. Do you live near a nursing home or assisted living facility? If so, ask parents to bring their child and their tricycle, bicycle, or stroller to the parking lot. Or, you could use the church parking lot. Decorate the vehicle in patriotic colors. Have children wave small American flags. Include your dog — on a leash.
Attend a patriotic music event in your community. Many small towns sponsor community choirs from all denominations that perform on Independence Day. Hearing “God Bless America,” “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” the “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and the other Sousa marches make us proud to live in this country. Dress your family in patriotic colors of red, white, and blue. Provide small flags for children to wave.
Plan an old-fashion family picnic. Ask an older member of your family how they observed the Fourth of July? Chances are they included family and church picnics. Food probably consisted of hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, slices of cold watermelon, hand-squeezed lemonade in gallon containers with hand-chipped ice, and homemade ice-cream made in a hand-cranked freezer.
Participate in games and activities from another era. Put away the latest technology and interact with your clan in games of yesterday. Pitch horseshoes, throw washers (available at a building supply store), set up a badminton court, play tug-of-war, among others. If no one remembers the rules, Google the term … as a concession to using technology for the day.
Visit a pioneer or early American village. Check with Tennessee tourism for places across our state. Before you visit, talk with your children about how life has changed since the first celebrations of the day. However, the “family” has the same needs as years ago. We need to love and respect each member, honor God and be grateful to live in America. Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”