Kudos to the Town of Salem for another great Independence Day celebration! What a nice event they put on every year. The fireworks this year lasted for about 25 un-interrupted minutes, and had some unusual lights. I’m glad to be able to share this with my daughter and granddaughter, continuing a family tradition.

I was surprised when my Dad told me, a few years before we lost him, that the Fourth of July was his favorite holiday. In retrospect, I should not have been surprised. My Dad was in the Navy, at the end of WWII. He saw things that my generation has never seen. Dad loved the reason for celebrating the Fourth of July, the flags, the food, family and fireworks. And boy, did he love the music!

Tonight, as every year, I was reminded of my youth and my Dad.  I relived the band music that I played in high school, and the music that played in our living room. We heard Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever. The finale to Rossini’s William Tell Overture. And so many other patriotic songs.

We heard Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, which brought back memories of that terrible time in 2001; after the attack on the World Trade Center, when the music stopped. There was no music played on the radios. Three days later, as I was heading to work, the radio station played the first song after the attack. “I’m proud to be an American …” I started bawling so hard, I had to pull over. Even now, that song does special things to me.

Tonight I am thankful. Thankful for the good memories I have, and for the opportunity to help make good memories for my family. Thankful that I grew up in a family that taught me to love this holiday. I’m thankful and proud to be an American … (even if I’m not proud of everything our country is doing these days). I’m thankful that our forefathers had the vision to present us with great documents like the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I’m thankful that we have this occasion to remind us of the history of our country.

Tonight I re-read the Declaration of Independence. As I travel this journey on the road to the NH State House, these words mean more to me now than they ever have: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Happy Independence Day, Salem!