Two years ago I spent my first 4th of July in Alaska. It was cold, rainy, and gray. Taryn and John were in Florida at summer camp and Dallas was in Georgia at Airborne school. We hadn’t been here long and I didn’t know anyone. Despite all that, I dragged myself and the twinkies downtown for the 4th of July parade. It wasn’t the worst day ever, but it wasn’t the best either.
I missed my family. I missed sunshine. I missed fireworks – we have them here, but they’re way too late for this old bag.
This year was completely different. A few weeks ago when this blog was featured in the Anchorage Daily News one of our local celebrities took note. She had her people contact my people to see if my little family would like to walk in this year’s parade with her.
This is the celebrity:
Star The Reindeer. She really is a local celebrity. She lives in a cage (a huge, awesome cage) downtown outside of her owner’s home. Her person is Albert, a great guy who invited us to walk the parade with her.
Of course, I immediately said yes. Albert said I could invite my friends too, so I did. I invited anyone from our Squadron who wanted to join in. I’m down with any chance to act foolish and wear a silly hat! I even got the big twins to dress alike for the occasion. They were thrilled.
All the usual suspects joined in on the fun…
After the parade Albert invited us all back to he and Star’s home for a barbecue. It was a great day, way better than the lonely one two years ago.
Every year I hear the same complaints and comments about the 4th of July, that it’s not supposed to be about parades and fireworks, but about celebrating those who fought and currently fight for our freedom. I agree, it is about those things. But it’s also about community and sharing and supporting each other.
When Albert asked us to be in the parade I said yes, not just for the chance to wear a silly hat, but because I wanted to be part of our community. And I wanted to share that with my family – my Army family. We shared the day. We laughed, waved, waved some more, ate great food, and got to know each other and this community better.
The 4th of July is about freedom and independence.
But it’s also about community.
And celebrity reindeer.