As you might expect, the first annual Shake the Lake celebration, Saturday night, June 28, started off with our national anthem.  I was delighted as the sky filled with a huge red explosion in time with the words “the rockets’ red glare.”  And then was amazed as an irregular scattering of white flashes immediately followed, mimicking “bombs bursting in air.” 

While the rest of the evening’s music did not compare to the perfect choreography of Rhythm and Booms; the fiery display of light may have exceeded the memories of years gone by.  Missing though were the patriotic tunes; the ones that bring goose bumps to the arms of young and old alike; the ones that spark images of the men and women who gave up so much for our freedom.

When we get caught up in life, it is so easy to put the reasons to celebrate that freedom to the back of our minds – to be brought forward and appreciated at another time.  I’m declaring this is that time; time to concentrate on the tremendous dreams our forefathers had when they left their homelands for a place where they could be free.  Free to worship their God. Free to govern themselves.  Free to speak their minds.  Free to be who they are.

This week, as you stand in respect when our flag is raised, I challenge you to bow your heads for a moment in memory of those who died so we can raise that flag. And always remember we are all a part of a whole, like the individual sparkles in the dark sky that together make such an incredible sight.