This past Sunday millions of Americans celebrated Independence Day. Because Independence Day 2021 happened to fall on the Christian Sabbath day, my mind that morning was focused on the most important thing of the day: praising God with fellow Christians through prayer, song, scripture, and Communion. It wasn’t until that afternoon, while relaxing with Mom in our backyard, that I shifted my thoughts from Sunday worship to this special national tradition.
Memories began to float into my consciousness, and before I knew it, I was back in my childhood on the farm outside Northfield. Every Independence Day of my childhood began this way: after crawling out of bed, and before chores or breakfast, my family would gather on the front stoop—still in our pajamas and robes--and sing “The Star Spangled Banner” while one of my brothers affixed the American flag in the pole bracket next to the front door. As the echo of our five voices singing the National Anthem disappeared over the dewy morning pastures and fields, we would stand for a minute looking at the flag, and then head inside to start our day.
Each Independence Day I may spend time thinking about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and of those Colonists—including my ancestor Josiah Lathrop—who risked their lives fighting in the Revolutionary War so that Americans could live and prosper independent of British rule. But I also take time to revel in those pleasant memories of my childhood, when my family would begin each Independence Day with a simple yet poignant tribute to the flag and to our country!