Plans For the 4th

Every year for the 4th of July my whole family gathers in Mt. Pleasant, UT. Those guys know how to do Independence Day right.

The celebrating starts at 5:00 AM to the sound of canon fire. Some guy in town owns a canon and has been given permission from the city to fire empty rounds every 4th. He fires his first shots in front of the homes of the people who complained about the noise the previous year. It’s as obnoxious as Hell, but when you think about the people whose homes he’s in front of, it’s worth it. The sun rises on thousands of big flags in front of every home and the giant flags on flagpoles in front of every public building. Dad hangs our big flag outside the house as my brothers and I go to get in nine holes of golf between then and the parade, which starts at 9:00 AM. After the parade it’s all relaxing and eating around the kiddy pool or under the apple trees in the hammocks and swings that are set up there.
The soap-box derby, a long time tradition in Mt. Pleasant, starts promptly at 1:00 PM and is just the activity to make you believe you’ve traveled back into a time when things were simpler, gas was cheaper and people still ate hotdogs without feeling guilty or even suspicious about what they were actually made of. Flat tires, broken steering columns, malfunctioning brake levers; it’s all as much a part of the racing as is the checkered flag or the cars that were clearly designed by some engineer working for some kids rich dad.
Next it’s back to the kiddy pool and apple tree for more eating and relaxing in the shade. When the shadows begin to fall it’s time to gather camp chairs and blankets and head to the cemetery where the evening fireworks show will begin promptly at 10:30. As it finally gets dark enough for pyrotechnics, the little flags placed on every grave are still visible in the final hazes of dying light. In the final moments before the stars and stripes slip into the invisible black, I revel in the sensation of laying on a blanket amid thousands of strangers united for one day in a common appreciation for our nation; to listen to kids, young and old still “oo” and “aahhh” at the airborne assault of sound and color, and then to make the long drive home with the windows down. I’m looking forward to the 4th of July.

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