Each Independence Day our families meet to reunite. A day of food and fun. Topped with a rodeo at night.

Pot luck was on the menu, from green salads to baked beans. And a steaming pot of tube steaks. The meat of easy means.

With bellies full of hot dogs, when the baked beans were all gone, we’d find some shade from July’s heat and stretch out on the lawn.

Then the young ones all played softball, knocking home runs to the sky. While the older men honed speeches about the 4th day of July.

The oldest uncle of our family called to gather ‘round. He quizzed us ‘bout our freedoms how we fought to own the ground.

His expression turned more serious. Here’s what he had to say. “ We fought a war for freedom ‘twas a heavy price to pay.

“Two hundred years ago the world would know this fateful day. We gained our independence. No more taxes sent their way.”

And then my father chimed in ‘bout the days of World War ll. And how the men fought bravely for the freedoms that we knew.

He said he won’t forget when they were sailing back to shore. The sailors saw the Golden Gate, knew they were home for sure.

Old Glory was then lowered. Sailors walked down off the ship. He watched the toughest seamen cover up a quivering lip.

And then he said while you are living a life that you enjoy. Remember those who went to war. At 18, still a boy.

The day progressed to evening. It was time for the rodeo. Our family filled three benches. We were waiting for the show.

The rodeo Grand Entry led out with our country’s flag. The stars and stripes were waving, worth a cowboy’s honored brag.

The Serpentine young riders, with precision in each step, would give their top performance for a show that was well prepped.

Then the horses stopped and riders held our nation’s flag up high. A vision you would not forget. Most pleasing to the eye.

The horses stood so flawlessly, well trained right from the start. While the riders showed respect, they placed their hats across their hearts.

The announcer gave our Nation’s Pledge. The audience joined in. I’d never felt more proud to be America’s own kin.

Our Independence day was ending, fireworks overhead. The freedoms we enjoyed today, we thank the honored dead.

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