I hope you don’t mind me sharing a short story with you about what happened on July 5th, 1998.

While on a family vacation, my wife Amy and I with our four kids straggling behind made our way to see Mount Rushmore for the first time.

We had to park about a mile away because there were a ton of cars and couldn’t get any closer.

Now, picture this, we had already been on the road for about 3 weeks, a bit tired, had seen many American treasures and were very excited to be at Mount Rushmore.

As we approached, all of a sudden, we rounded a curve and there was George’s nose. The biggest nose we’d ever seen. Of course, I took a quick snap shoot (Took about an hour of search the box with all the old photos and finally found it. Showed up in the second from last envelope).

We kept walking and walking, seeing more and more of the great presidents, getting bigger and bigger as we got closer and closer.

Finally we made it to the entrance, went in and the place was packed. People everywhere.

Turns out that the official Fourth of July Celebration was rained out the day before and we walked into the rescheduled Fourth of July Celebration.

So we walked in further, made our way to the seating area, not a seat in sight except a roped off row or two about 10 rows up.

Being one to rarely follows the rules, we made our way and sat in that row. Other’s followed and in moments, the row was filled.

Within ten minutes, the master of ceremonies started making announcements about the program that was about to start.

I gotta tell you, it was amazing, the presentation and program took about an hour and a half. There was music, dancing and celebration.

All along, the sun was going down, getting darker and darker.

Mt Rushmore July 5th, 1998 W0W!

Mt Rushmore July 5th, 1998 W0W!

Then suddenly, from behind the presidents, a loud boom, fireworks starting. And they got bigger and bigger. Exploding behind and shining on the rocks. Illuminating the Presidents.

The fire works went on for a very long time. Booming.
Cracking.
Showering us with magical colors.
It was amazing.

After the grand finally when the fireworks faded away and the smoke hovered low, my wife looked at me, my kids looked at me, tears running down my cheeks, my shirt wet, they asked why I was crying.

I was too choked up to explain my feelings to them at the time.

Anyway, that moment I’ll never forget the patriotic feelings I had.
And, still have it today. Until the day I die.

How proud, lucky, and appreciative I was to be an American living in America.
And, to be there, with my family, of all places on Earth or in America we could have been on that early July day.
Wow.

You see, I just had to share this with you because every 4th of July this fond memory comes flooding back.
Once again bringing tears of gratitude, appreciation for all who have been kind enough to let me be part of their life.

Thanks for allowing me to be part of your life.

Now, what fond memories do you recall of your past 4th of July’s?

What will you have gratitude and appreciation for on this 4th of July?

Go out and create your great memories of this 4th of July 2012.

And may they be fond memories that you’ll be proud to carry with you, tell your friends and family over and over for many more 4th of July’s to come.

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