Viewpoint: How you should have spent the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July means many things. To any age of student, it means summer is half over. To any soldier, it means an all-out party for the country they proudly defend. To George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock, it meant the first day of a new nation. It also means and has meant the declaring of independence for all citizens. To the average American, it’s a day of appreciation and gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy.  No matter what it means, it should be a day of celebration and gratitude.

The Fourth of July is a holiday of mass celebrations. There are many traditions that the holiday entails, such as parades, barbecues and fireworks. First thing in the morning, the streets are lined with bleachers, folding chairs and blankets. People filter in shortly afterward and line the streets. Young children sit on the front lines with plastic bags that sway in the morning breeze, so they can pick up all the flavors of saltwater taffy thrown at them.

The parades usually start with the fire trucks and policemen driving by, sirens blaring. The American flag rolls by carried by the Boy Scouts, and the crowd stands and applauds to honor the great symbol of our country. The local middle- and high-school cheerleaders, dance teams, student body officers, and marching bands pass cheering and playing. Living in the great state of Utah, horses can be seen trotting through the streets, followed by the pooper scoopers. Parades in the morning are the perfect way to start off the holiday.

The Fourth of July barbecue has the best food of the entire summer. Tables, punctuated with red-, white- and blue-decorated paper plates, cups and utensils are ready for splatters of barbecue sauce, ketchup and spilled punch. Plates are loaded with watermelon, baked beans, salads (fruit, noodle, green, vegetable, Jell-O, potato) and, last but not least, burgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill. For something fancier, try some brisket, or marinated steak or ribs smothered in barbecue sauce, or maybe all of it. After the plates are loaded, people gather around the various yards and parks in the shade to eat and talk, laugh, reminisce and create memories.

The best way to finish off the day of parades, block parties, barbecues and blistering heat is to spend the night with friends and family watching fireworks. Don’t forget to bring the sparklers too so the children have their dose of safe entertainment for the evening. Glow-stick necklaces and bracelets are also always welcome. Everyone chit- chats until the first BOOM is heard and the sky is illuminated. A hush falls over the crowd as the show starts and the patriotic music plays in the background (kudos to ancient China for providing great pyrotechnics that entertain people of all ages). Twenty minutes later, there is a slight pause and the sky erupts with the grand finale. Boom, boom, boom, boom, BIG BOOM, BIG BANG, BIGGER BOOM, BIGGER BANG, BIGGEST BOOM, BIGGEST BANG, and then all is silent.

The Fourth of July is a day for parties and celebrations. It’s a day for traditions and remembrance. As this Fourth of July has passed us, The Signpost hopes you spent it with friends and family. We hope that you took a moment to honor the men and women who have died and the ones currently serving who help defend the freedoms we take for granted. We hope you remembered the history of the United States of America and all that it stands for. We hope you ate so much your stomach hurt. We hope you saw a great fireworks show. We hope you had a great Fourth of July.