Happy Birthday to US

I like summer. I even clarified that in a comment on the EXAIR Facebook page’s post of Lee Evan’s blog, “Summertime,” last week. I also really like summer holidays. Don’t get me wrong; Thanksgiving and Christmas are great, but right now, in the thick of the July heat, it’s kickball, cornhole and fireworks, and not sugarplums, that are dancing in my head.

Just a few weeks ago we kicked off the Official Start Of Summer™ with Memorial Day, a day of thanksgiving, if you will, for the courage and determination of all the heroic men and women who guaranteed our freedom and way of life with their life’s blood. Amidst the picnics, parties and fireworks, I was pleased to see ceremonies and observances honoring those patriots who made the sacrifice that I was fortunate enough not to be called to make. As a veteran of America’s armed forces, I’m proud that I served 364 days a year, but don’t thank me for my service on Memorial Day. I didn’t earn that.

This past Monday was Independence Day. Another day when you have to try hard to avoid picnics, parties, fireworks, streets lined with flags…but this time, it’s different. This is a celebration; a day more suitable for parties than ceremonies; when fireworks at twilight are more fitting than flowers at gravesides.

This is my street. My whole neighborhood looks like this the last week of June/first week of July. Every year.

I’m certainly not saying that there’s a day to NOT remember – and honor – our fallen heroes, but, from the beginning, Independence Day was meant to be a party. After signing the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife in which he said:

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

There it is – “the great anniversary festival” – a birthday party! Look, I also really like my birthday, and, while it’s more late-spring than early-summer, it’s still a darn fine time for outdoor activities. One thing I always miss, though, is my Mom calling me, first thing in the morning, to sing “Happy Birthday To You” to me. I lost her nine years ago, and, as any Mama’s Boy who’s lost his Mama knows, it’ll never be all right, but that, in itself, is all right.

So I certainly remember her on my birthday, but not to the point of complete distraction from celebrating another successful trip around the sun with my family and friends…and I truly believe that’s the way Mom would have wanted it. Just like I believe those who left their lives on the battlefields and in the seas of our nation’s conflicts are looking down and enjoying the fireworks on the Fourth of July…just as much as they appreciate the playing of “Taps” on Memorial Day.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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