Tuesday, January 20, 2009


A few months ago, I was sitting in the Monongahela Aquatorium with my family. It was my first real American 4th of July after living out of the country for six years. The threatening rain had passed us by and the skies cleared.

We had funnel cakes and frosty cold Coca Cola as we waited for the fireworks to start. The bleechers filled up.

The DJ called a limbo contest to entertain the waiting crowd. Kids were foisted by their parents onto the stage to compete. Others played in the mud by the river.

When the fireworks started, my young niece climbed onto my lap to get a better view. The DJ played a mixed collection of patriotic music. John Phillip Souza, et al. Not my style really, but the fireworks were spectacular.

Then the music changed to Ray Charles singing "America, the Beautiful" as the finale began. As I sat watching the fireworks and the perfectly perfect small town America crowd, I tried my best to conceal my tears.

"Why are you crying, Auntie?" asked my niece.

"Because this is so beautiful and I am so happy to be here." I answered.


All I can say is this, today, even when watched on TV from my living room instead of from the Mall as originally planned--this is a million times better. I am crying my lips off and truly grateful to be watching from this side of the ocean. It's good to be home!

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