The question of how a movement for social justice deals with symbols like the Fourth of July or like the flag has always been a controversial one. At the height of the Vietnam War, when some were advocating burning the flag, others said we should wash it instead, try to reclaim the symbol instead of repudiate it.
I'm no flag-burner (although, of course, I support freedom of expression). I don't see the point in an act that simply shocks the sensibilities of people. I'd like to be able to celebrate the Fourth. But right now the flag needs a lot of washing, and reclaiming the Fourth of July as a celebration that plays any positive role will take a lot of work.
I still recall my father (veteran of World War II front lines Battle of the Bulge) saying how much he hated each and every 4th of July. He hated the loud cracking sounds of firecrackers (symbols of bombs) and the sights of the "beautiful" colors of "bombs bursting in air" ....to him these explosive sounds and sights created painful flashbacks of people screaming, buddies getting killed, and strangers being blown to pieces....all in the name of freedom. My dad fought for "freedom" but he never wanted to CELEBRATE the horrors that created it. The use of fireworks with flags waving in the background, people laughing and clapping while guzzling down beer, and eating spoiled potato salad make me sick. I can't celebrate the symbols of war. If my father was alive today, he would help me wash the flag rather than wave it. Our freedom should be celebrated in traditional 4th of July fashion????? I don't think so.
I hope Bush chokes on his hotdog and that a big cherry bomb firecracker goes off in HIS face this 4th of July. Maybe he'd have a nano-inkling of empathy for the absurdity of celebrating war wins.... I don't want to celebrate anything to do with killing others as a means to our so-called "freedom." My father came back from war a broken man from all the traumas of war. He never experienced personal freedom as a result of all the fireworks and killings. I'll celebrate my "freedom" by hiking through our beautiful forests before the Republicans screw up our natural environment. Bitter? Nah...just weary of war and tired of celebrating our national pride for winning them when nobody really wins. So...when you ooohh and ahhhh over the expensive and colorful firework display showering over your city, and when you place your right winged hand over your heart to the tune of "...Red rocket's red glare and bombs bursting in air...." try also turning a little red in the face from remembering all the men, women, and children that died or were maimed (regardless whether or not they were Americans) as a result of bombs that we dropped. Why are we celebrating?
We've all paid too big a price for a hotdog, applepie, and a sparkler.