Celebrating America’s Freedom: July 4th

Photo Credit: thesodashop.us

Photo Credit: thesodashop.us

Independence Day is one of my favorite times of the year. The picnics, barbeques, fireworks, parades and spending time with family and friends make it a day of great fun. In remembrance of our freedom, I decided that for the next few blogs leading up to July 4th, I will post some stories that give us a historical background as to how some things in America came to pass. Today’s story: The Birth of the Fourth of July.

Independence Day also known as 4th of July is the birthday of the United States of America. It is celebrated on July 4th each year in the United States. It is the anniversary of the day on which the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress – July 4, 1776.

This was the day that America announced to the world that the 13 colonies no longer belonged to Great Britain. The thirteen colonies were: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. In May, 1776, after nearly a year of trying to resolve their differences with England, the colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Finally, in June, admitting that their efforts were hopeless; a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the declaration to Congress. Independence Day was first observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.

On July 4, 1777, the night sky of Philadelphia lit up with the blaze of bonfires. Candles illuminated the windows of houses and public buildings. Church bells rang out load, and cannons were shot from ships breaking the silence. The city was celebrating the first anniversary of the founding of the United States.

The Fourth of July soon became the main patriotic holiday of the entire country. Veterans of the Revolutionary War made a tradition of gathering on the Fourth to remember their victory. In towns and cities, the American flag flew; shops displayed red, white, and blue decorations; and people marched in parades that were followed by public readings of the Declaration of Independence. It is one of the few federal holidays that have not been moved to the nearest Friday or Monday.

Some Fun July 4th Facts:

  1. The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
  2. Before cars ruled the roadway, the Fourth of July was traditionally the most miserable day of the year for horses, tormented by all the noise and by the boys and girls who threw firecrackers at them.
  3. The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
  4. Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826.
  5. Bristol, Rhode Island has been celebrating independence continuously since 1785.
  6. Fireworks are largely imported. According to the United States Census in 2011, Americans purchased $223.6 million of this product from China. The second highest import associated with this holiday is flags.
  7. In 1941, Congress declared July 4 a federal legal holiday. During the same year, the PGA establishes the Golf Hall of Fame. In addition, General Mills launches a new product: Cheerios.

The Power of Words

Photo Credit: Anna Langova via publicdomainpictures.net

Photo Credit: Anna Langova via publicdomainpictures.net

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in mommy’s tummy.

He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown , Tennessee ! In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor.
Would a C-section be required?
Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville.
Days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.

Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.
Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. I want to sing to her, he kept saying. Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive.

Karen dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket. The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, ‘Get that kid out of here now. No children allowed’.
The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s face, her lips a firmline.’He is not leaving until he sings to his sister’ she stated.
Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began to sing.
In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:
‘You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray’.
Instantly, the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady.

‘Keep on singing, Michael,’ encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.’You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.’
As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr.
‘Keep on singing, sweetheart.’ ‘The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms’. Michael’s little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.
‘Keep on singing, Michael’. Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

‘You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away…

‘The next day…the very next day…the little girl was well enough to go home.
Woman’s Day Magazine called it The Miracle of a Brother’s Song .
The medical staff just called it a miracle.
Karen called it a miracle of God’s love.

LOVE IS SO INCREDIBLY POWERFUL.
NEVER GIVE UP ON THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE.

————————

Source: MumbaiiteAnu

Time

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Time

Aaron Smiling GraduationTime is a crazy thing…like my grandmother used to say…the older you get…the days get longer and the years get shorter…isn’t that the truth!! These pictures are of my youngest boy at about 4 years old and his graduation picture…yesterday. WOW!…where does the time go? I am SO proud of my boy…he’s now a young man!

We All Need A Dent in Our Car

Photo Credit: Cookaa via Wikimedia

Photo Credit: Cookaa via Wikimedia

I was reading a story by a friend of mine at “Pastor Mike Says” the other day which really made me realize that not all things happen for reasons that we think. Sometimes things may occur to us that seem to have a definite clear-cut reason as to why it happened but actually, it took place for a completely different reason from what we thought.

How many times in our lives to we react and / or jump to a conclusion before we know the real reason something happened. The following true story is a great illustration about jumping to conclusions and dealing with the “bricks” that occasionally may come into our lives.

About ten years ago, a young and very successful businessman named Josh was driving down a Chicago neighborhood street. He was going way fast in his slick, black, 12 cylinder Jaguar XKE, which was only two months old. He was watching for kids running out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no child darted out, but a brick sailed out and…WHUMP! it smashed into the Jag’s shiny black side door! BRAKES SCREECHED!!!!

Brakes slammed! Gears ground into reverse, and tires madly spun the Jaguar back to the spot from where the brick had been thrown. Josh jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid and pushed him up against a parked car. He shouted at the kid, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what do you think you are doing?!” Building up a head of steam, he went on. “That’s my new Jag, that brick you threw is going to cost you a lot of money. Why did you throw it?”

“Please, mister, please …. I’m sorry! I didn’t know what else to do!” pleaded the youngster. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop!” Tears were dripping down the boy’s chin as he pointed around the parked car. “It’s my brother, mister,” he said. “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.” Sobbing, the boy asked the businessman, “Would you please help me by getting him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.”

Moved beyond words, the young businessman tried desperately to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. Straining, he lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checked to see that everything was going to be OK. He then watched, as the younger brother push him down the sidewalk toward their home.

It was a long walk back to the sleek, black, shining, 12 cylinder Jaguar XKE – a long and slow walk. Josh never did fix the dented side door of his Jaguar. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at him to get his attention….. Some bricks are softer than others. Prepare yourself for the bricks of life that are coming at you and THINK before you REACT.

The Little Boy

Photo Credit: Nightryder84 via WikiMedia

Photo Credit: Nightryder84 via WikiMedia

Sally jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room. She said: “How is my little boy? Is he going to be all right? When can I see him?”

The surgeon said, “I’m sorry. We did all we could, but your boy didn’t make it.”

Sally said, “Why do little children get cancer? Doesn’t God care any more? Where were you, God, when my son needed you?”

The surgeon asked, “Would you like some time alone with your son? One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he’s transported to the university.”

Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good-bye to son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair.

“Would you like a lock of his hair?” the nurse asked.

Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy’s hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally. The mother said, “It was Jimmy’s idea to donate his body to the university for study. He said it might help somebody else. “I said no at first, but Jimmy said, ‘Mom, I won’t be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom.” She went on, “My Jimmy had a heart of gold. He was always thinking of someone else and always wanting to help others if he could.”

Sally walked out of Children’s Mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there. She put the bag with Jimmy’s belongings on the seat beside her in the car. The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house. She carried Jimmy’s belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son’s room. She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She laid down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.

It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Laying beside her on the bed was a folded letter. The letter said:

“Dear Mom,

I know you’re going to miss me; but don’t think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just ’cause I’m not around to say I LOVE YOU. I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day. Someday we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won’t be so lonely, that’s okay with me. He can have my room and old stuff to play with. But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn’t like the same things us boys do. You’ll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know. Don’t be sad thinking about me. This really is a neat place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything. The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn’t look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him. Jesus himself took me to see GOD! And guess what, Mom? I got to sit on God’s knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important. That’s when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you good-bye and everything. But I already knew that wasn’t allowed. Well, you know what Mom? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter. I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him ‘Where was He when I needed him?’ “God said He was in the same place with me, as when His son Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children.

Oh, by the way, Mom, no one else can see what I’ve written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn’t that cool? I have to give God His pen back now. He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I’m, sure the food will be great.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don’t hurt anymore. The cancer is all gone. I’m glad because I couldn’t stand that pain anymore and God couldn’t stand to see me hurt so much, either. That’s when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me. The Angel said I was a Special Delivery! How about that?

Signed with Love from: God, Jesus & Me.”

Take the time today to love your kids, your spouse or the other people who are important in your life. Give them a hug or a kiss and tell them how much you love them.

WOW! Three REALLY is a Charm!

I have been a member of WordPress for only about 3 1/2 months now and it still amazes me how many people visit and appreciate my blog page…it is a very overwhelming and sober feeling to have had an opportunity to touch so many people. Now I am being nominated for these nice awards. I am SO happy that I can do this and hopefully, will continue to do it for a long time to come.

With all that being said, I would personally like to my friend Ajay of Ajaytao 2010 for showing me kindness, thoughtfulness and encouragement. I would like to ask you to visit his site if you want to be invigorated, uplifted and refreshed.

Thank you again for your nominations and friendship!!

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