independence || Happy Fourth

Local Cub Scouts place flags at the graves of veterans on July 1, in Arvada, Colorado

I met these little girls earlier this week. Emma Fisher, the Girl Scout, had tagged along with two of her brothers (both Cub Scouts) to plant flags at the graves of veterans at the Arvada Cemetery to honor their memory and service. She told me she didn’t originally want to come, because she is one of only two girls in a family of seven children, and the idea of being surrounded by even more boys did not sound fun. But one of the Cub Scout moms declared their group the “girl group,” and Emma, 11, set out with them, her sister Lilly (wearing blue), and the Cub Scout mom’s daughter, Gretchen (in red). And me.

As they walked around with a cemetery map in hand, trying to decipher the red blotted out triangles that marked the locations of veterans, studying it closely for clues as if searching out a bright, red X that indicated treasure, we talked about the Fourth of July. Emma’s grandfather had served in World War II. Her mom, Gina, who I spoke to later in the afternoon, said it was important to her that her children learn what it is to defend and value their freedom. Whether that means serving in the military, or as a conscientious citizen. That’s why she encouraged them to take part in Girl Scouts or Cub Scouts, respectively, and participate in this annual flag placing tradition.

So today, on this Independence Day, I wish you all a very happy, safe celebration of our country’s history. I am all about fireworks and hot dogs and barbecue — rock on to all of the above! — but don’t let that overshadow what it is we honor today.

Now excuse me while I go seek out some coffee and a sparkler.

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