The Fourth of July always brings a range of emotions for yours truly.
I’ve experienced much happiness, sadness and even fear on Independence Day and the days leading up to and after the holiday.
There are fond memories as a child of being with family and friends, eating good food and just having a magical time that can only be relived through photos and thoughts.
It hasn’t always been joy, however, as our family lost its rock, its glue, its leader around July 4th several years ago.
My grandmother Shirley was the reason our family still traveled from near and far to celebrate holidays together long after those magical moments as children and after we all had families of our own. She was a great uniting force and an angel on earth who could transform any negative to a positive.
Her passing would ultimately signal the end, for the most part, of those big family get-togethers. But her words of wisdom still stand strong with me today.
One of my strongest Independence Day memories was during a fireworks show at Fairbanks Park in Terre Haute in the early 2000s.
My brother had just entered his first tour in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, and, as those fireworks burst in the air, accompanied by patriotic music, I feared the unknown.
How is he feeling? Is he scared? Would … he survive?
So, as another Independence Day passes, I will remember the good, the bad and the reality that it’s life experiences that shape your life. But, remember, we are all afforded that freedom to change.