By Simon Ambit
I sit in the grass with my children and, for them, the moments seem to tick ever so slowly on as the anticipation grows. Their anxiousness grows inside of their little frames until it can no longer be contained. It subtly begins to bubble out in the form of wiggles and deep sighs. Then, the simmering of movement takes form as they bounce and bobble, quickly standing and dropping back to the cool grass for only a brief moment before they percolate back to their feet for a few small hops and a stretch.
At this point, the full boil is reached and they begin to run and jump, play games of tag and wrestle with one another. They are so excited and it feels like they have waited for eternity as they have waited for the sky to grow dark. Just when the children believe they have been pushed to the outer limits of their patience threshold, a distant SHHHHWOOOSH is heard, followed by a brief moment of silence and the world seem to stand still for just one brief second. Then, KABOOOOOOM!!! The darkness of the night sky overhead is arrayed with a spattering of explosions and emissions of colorful lights as the fireworks erupt above us.
As a parent, I watch the fireworks and still sit in awe and I feel like a young child again as I do so. I look to my children as I see the fireworks dance in the reflections of their eyes. I draw upon the strength of their youthful energy, the hope of their bright outlook and their ability to befriend others and enjoy the little things in life.
I cannot be in a setting such as this and not think about the words of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The words of what is now our great National Anthem were penned in 1814 by Francis Scott Key. The first of four versus to the song are sung familiarly at many events across our United States of America.
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave
As the barrage of fireworks erupts above us, I think of my family and the blessed opportunity I have to raise them and be with them here in our great America. I think of all that has and yet may take place to make and preserve that possibility and I am deeply grateful. The fourth verse of our great National Anthem sums it up;
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!