Independence Day is upon us and many celebrations will be taking place.
Winnetka, Illinois was a great small town to grow up in the 50’s and 60’s. It definitely was a simpler and safer time for everyone. No locked doors on houses, kids played outside in the dark, walking, or riding your bike, anywhere was the norm. I have many great memories, but ones that really stand out are the celebration of Independence Day in our small town.
We would start decorating our bikes days before, starting with a trip to Woolworths, the 5 & 10 cent store. If you waited too long to go, there wasn’t any red, white and blue crepe paper left and if you couldn’t get that, you might as well forget decorating your bike. We would start with weaving the crepe paper between the spokes of our wheels. Then we would wrap the handle bars and of course at the end of the handle bars we would have streamers of the red, white, and blue crepe paper. If there was enough paper left we would wrap any other bars on the bike. The final addition was a playing card attached to the back frame with a spring clothes pin, when this was fastened right the playing card would click against each spoke as you rode. That was our motor sound. Now we were ready for the grand parade.
Many times the Independence Day Parade came right by our house. We didn’t have floats back then but we had bands, military people, scouts, firetrucks and at the very end would be the hundreds of kids on their decorated bikes. We were part of the parade that ended at the Village Green. We listened to speakers talk about our great country, had a 21 gun salute and at the end every child was given an ice cream and an American Flag. Those of us with bikes would try to attach that flag somewhere on our bike and if we couldn’t do that we would proudly carry it in our hand.
That afternoon we would barbecue in our backyard and my mother would have homemade potato salad. I loved that potato salad. At night of course there would be fireworks. Our small town did not have them so we had to drive somewhere else to watch. One of the places for a big display was in Evanston. We went to a stadium and there were things going on the ground as well as in the sky. One of the most spectacular was a display of the American flag made up of ground fireworks. It only lasted seconds on the ground but the image lasted hours in your mind.
I think those memories may have been the seed for me to truly love and cherish our flag. At our home my mom and dad always put up the large cotton flag with 48 stars, remember this was in the 50’s (Alaska became a state in Jan. 1959 and Hawaii Aug. 1959). Our flag had individually sewn stars and each stripe was an individual strip sewn together. It was a beautiful flag. The flag that my husband and I fly each day is a printed flag, not as beautiful ecstatically but just as beautiful for what it represents, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
George Washington Adams, son of John Quincy Adams and grandson of John Adams, in 1824 said concerning our independence: The effects of this Declaration are now everywhere visible. Look through the country and behold our accumulated blessings: see nature robed in beauty, fertile in rich luxuriance; see health and plenty everywhere around you; see a dense and settled population stretching from the cold regions of the North to the exuberant [rich] valleys of the South, from the prolific intervals of the East to the flourishing prairies of the West; see your shores washed by two oceans and the soil your own. Are not these motives for rejoicing?” (taken from WallBuilder Report 2006 by David Barton)
Happy Independence Day!
For incredible information on our country go to wallbuilders.com