Reflecting on Freedoms this Fourth of July

Everyone’s favorite holiday is finally upon us. And, as usual, the Brazos Valley has had to make a few adjustments in our community celebrations for the 4th. We were looking forward to the “I Love America” Independence Day Celebration at Wolf Pen Creek, but out of wise caution, the College Station Noon Lions Club said the lawn saturation with water and safety issues could really make it unsafe, so it is postponed. That’s the bad news. There’s still good news.

This year is our nation’s 245th anniversary of celebrating the founding of our nation as an independent country—land of the free, home of the brave. That’s a slogan that has special meaning for those whose ancestors fought for our rights to be free from England and the monarchy. We’ve been free as a nation for so long, it’s really easy to forget a day and time when we were not able to enjoy the freedoms we do today.

So often we forget what was at stake to forge ahead bravely for our freedom, because this day, like Memorial Day and like Veteran’s Day, is a day of remembrance that has become slightly secondary to the opportunity for a day off of work, a day without mail delivery and bank transactions, and a hefty amount of red, white, and blue bunting gathered up. We talk of barbeques and fireworks and sometimes the day fades gently from meaning.

Yes, five years from now, it will be the 250th anniversary, but this year, of all years, is a tremendous reason to celebrate. In the past 12+ months, as a nation we’ve joined together to heal from COVID-19 and remember the lives of loved ones we’ve lost. We’ve become closer as friends and neighbors who help each other; and we’re grateful for every day we are together with our seniors, having been reunited with them and hugging them tightly around the necks, holding their hands and not wanting to let go.

It’s the children in our community who make us stay true to honoring this day for its true meaning. Across town today on Saturday morning, many subdivisions held parades of their own, with adults and children walking side-by-side waving little American flags. Children rode their bicycles or pedaled their cars and wave back at the adults who were sitting in camp chairs on sidewalks lining the path, waving at the little patriots-in-training.

Today at 5pm at First Baptist Church in Bryan, the public is invited to attend a free patriotic concert, followed by a picnic for those who attend.

The fireworks at the end of the day remind us all that we have the opportunity, the right and the freedom to worship, speak, live, and love in peace. And that we should not take these freedoms for granted because there are those whose daily lives do not include freedoms.

Per The Eagle update, on Sunday night, July 4th, the TAMU RELLIS Campus opens at 6:30pm and will host “drive-in and stay-in-your-car” fireworks (and a drone show) at 9pm. You can watch on KBTX or listen to your car radio at 94.5 FM. Then, the Volunteer Fire Department in Kurten will start their activities and fun at 5pm, with fireworks at 9pm.

Getting the weekend started on July 2nd, was First Friday in Downtown Bryan, as we’ve come to enjoy. New management of the Palace and Queen Theatres by longtime friends, the Schulman family, is coming soon. Look for future years’ celebrations to include those two venues.

Although firework stands have been operating everywhere at the edges of town, and yes, they are wonderful fun, but inside the boundaries of B-CS city limits, they’re NOT permitted. Please enjoy your fireworks in the country and stay safe.

A special request—Our dogs are terrorized by the sounds (they hear and feel so much more intensely than we do) of fireworks, whether black cats, bottle rockets, or the most sophisticated types.  Even if you’re not a pet owner, please empathize with those who are and make sure you don’t set them off where pets are present. The animal shelters get filled with dogs who run away from their yards because they are scared. Thanks for thinking of our “extra” family members.

May your 4th of July reflect a great day of celebrating our nation’s founding, the history we share as a country, and the connectivity we all share as U.S. citizens and the freedoms we enjoy each day. Freedom isn’t free and we are forever reminded of the price our loved ones pay with their lives to sustain our freedom still today. Wave your flag proudly and hold her high—long may she wave!

Cody ’02 and Chelsea ’11 Jones