By Abigail Dommert
Happy Fourth of July to all our HWF subscribers and readers! We hope you’re all enjoying a relaxing, and hopefully cool, summer break so far.
In our last post for Flag Day, we reflected a lot on Patriotism, love, and what a WWE fighter and a Catholic Saint have in common. (If you’re curious, go check it out!!)
In today’s post, we’re going to think a little about how those ideas apply to the Fourth of July. First and foremost, the Fourth of July is a celebration. It’s a celebration of freedom, of independence, and of the people who literally signed our country, the United States of America, into existence. It’s a day of joy and good-old-fashioned American fun. A day of cheeseburgers and hot dogs, of the tangy smell of chlorinated pools and suntan lotion, of the squishy feeling of muddy grass and icy sprinklers. A day of parades and sticky red, white, and blue popsicles dribbling down chins, of lighting fuses and back to the safety of the driveway, of turning to see the gleam of fireworks reflected in your loved ones’ eyes. It’s a day of patriotism, and therefore, a day of love for each other and for our country.
It’s a day to remember. To remember the things that make our country great, but also, the things that make it not so great. Remember all the great and terrible things that have happened to make our country what it is today. Take some time, amid the fireworks and french fries and fanfares to remember it all, and remember the people who helped make it that way. Remember and celebrate George Washington, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and all the traditional American heroes! But alongside them, make it your goal on this Fourth of July to seek out and celebrate an unsung, but just as important, American hero. We’ve even helped you out by compiling a short list of examples below!
- Hercules Mulligan -- Irish clothier to General Washington and Patriot Spy
- Henrietta Lacks -- African-American woman whose cancer cells became the first immortalized cell line, essential to modern medical research.
- Sylvia Mendez-- Latinx & Education Civil Rights Activist
- Bayard Rustin-- Organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, African-American, International, & Gay Rights Activist
- Olaudah Equiano-- Freed Slave, Writer of one of the most influential autobiographies, and Abolitionist
- Susan La Flesche-- The first Native American woman in the United States to receive a medical degree.
- Humayun Khan & Other Muslim-American Soldiers-- 27-year-old Muslim soldier killed in Iraq
- Men of Steel-- Chinese Laborers who built the Transcontinental Railroad across the country
- Officer Tommy Norman-- Little Rock, Ark. Police Officer known for connecting to the community in creative and engaging ways
In his poem, Let America Be America Again, Langston Hughes writes,
O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
This Fourth of July, be proud of and love what our country was. Be proud of and love what our country is. But most importantly, be proud of and love what our country will be, and what we can mightily dream up for it.
If you know a youth organization that could use an easy fundraiser helping get more flags out in our community OR some of your neighbors need a flag delivered for patriotic holidays... just forward this not along and they can click on these links!
Thank you for supporting our organizations and have a safe 4th of July! God Bless America!