Pomp and Parade

I went to Walmart this afternoon because I needed a new passport photo. I do not recommend doing such a thing the day before the fourth of July.

The store is somewhat the equivalent of a theme park most of the time: long lines, people walking around eating food (not yet paid for, however), strollers ramming into people and things, kids running excitedly and merchandise coming out of your non-mouse ears. I have a soft spot for it, though, and have passed many an hour there.

Today that theme park was on crack, and it was dripping in red, white and blue. Econo-sized bags of chips never before adorned with stars, stripes and fireworks were lining the shelves, their graphics clearly working when it came time for customers to choose a brand. Festive cupcakes of all shapes and sizes flooded the bakery area; parents caved and filled their carts with the sugary goodness.

Bunches of dyed flowers, none of which looked natural, were being snatched up. I don’t know about you, but if a blue daisy never graces my table, I’d be more than OK with that.

All-things red were front and center, luring shoppers with their hue: regular hand towels, red party cups, party streamers, rugs, gift bags, shower curtains, pillows, even the silk flowers. It was like the holiday wasn’t about independence, but being chained to a single color in the event you happened to be furnishing a home…only in red. If I was blue or white, I’d have been a little jealous.

It’s interesting the marketing and displays that bombard our senses during early July. It makes me wonder whether the kids stocking the shelves know their country’s history, or whether the gal designing the advertising insert understands why she’s using the clip art that she’s using.

Tonight in my city where fireworks are illegal — but where people are starting their celebrations early and lighting everything from bottle rockets to simple sparklers anyway — I am thankful for our country, for those events during the summer of 1776 and for all the show, the pomp and parade that John Adams spoke of to his wife. Yes, we are still commemorating our day of deliverance from coast to coast more than two hundred years later. Even though we’ve broadened things beyond “guns, bells and bonfires” since then, our celebrations are still celebrations — and the spirit of “the great anniversary festival” remains.

God bless America.

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