Growing up in Mantua #16

July 4 just outside DC

Mantua is a neighborhood just 20 miles outside Washington, DC so fireworks displays would often pale in comparison so Mantua didn’t try. But the neighborhood could picnic with the best.

I spent my July 4, as any other day in the summer, at the pool. The festivities at Mantua pool would start at noon when the pool opened and went all day. Just think of a huge backyard barbeque for the entire neighborhood.

The parents would spend the day enjoying the sun and relaxing with the other parents, while the kids were in the pool. In those days we would shoot fireworks off in our front yards. Sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and all the things that are too dangerous now.

The one thing we really didn’t do when I was growing up was visiting about what happened on July 4, 1776. Other than Schoolhouse Rock, it took until I was in college to really sit down and read the details within the Declaration of Independence. When it comes down to it, other than the first bit, the Declaration, is a very angry breakup letter to King George.

After recently reading “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek I understand the Declaration of Independence much better now. It is our country’s “why” document. Many people talk about the Constitution as a sacred document and I believe in it wholeheartedly but that is the “what” and “how” document. The Declaration of Independence is Why we became a nation. Many of us interpret the Constitution in different ways but we do agree in the general premise of why we are here, for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So, today as I celebrate another Independence day here in the United States. I remember days long ago and the peace I had growing up, and I also spend time recalling how this country began, its flaws, and strengths, and how we can do better.

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