I smell the tangy, mouthwatering smoke of a hundred charcoal grills cooking up delectable holiday meals. Later I smell the acrid scent of a thousand colorful bombs set in time to patriotic songs and messages.
I cannot fathom the grave responsibility of the safety and security of a nation as I sip a cold beverage and enjoy my barbequed chicken. I do not know the terror of tyranny and my only concept of oppression is a stack of dirty dishes awaiting my attention. But I am not soft and uncaring.
I cherish my freedom and with every exploding rainbow I am reminded of the cost.
I sit in the grass and I see the red explosion reflected in the eyes of a soldier who has seen this thing in a different light. The same eyes that have faced this fire for a hundred years and a thousand years, the same eyes that will continue to face this fire for a thousand years to come. Eyes that guard the beloved against harm.
To some this show is nothing more than a display of colorful lights and they hope that this show might be better than the last, but they are not sure they would actually pay to see it, and would someone pass the potato salad.
To me this show is an acknowledgement that men were willing-- not just once, not just long ago, but now--willing, ready, able to stop forward and defend me against harm.
I take that personally.
I thank you.