I don’t think any of us don’t have plenty of great childhood memories about the 4th of July. Cookouts, parades, fireworks, swimming holes… I have plenty of amazing 4th stories from growing up here, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really appreciated the meaning behind the day, and stumbled upon probably the most American town in the state. Welcome to Norris TN, population 1600 give or take. The 4th of July celebration in Norris is, well, picture perfect. There is a huge lawn in front of Norris Middle School (the area is called Norris Commons) and the whole town comes there to celebrate. Hot dogs, cokes, and snow cones, kids throwing footballs and kicking a soccer ball. Last year the town got an Air Force Band to play, and no one there is a stranger, even if they don’t know you. I’m telling you this place is Mayberry, and it’s wonderful. Oh, and as soon as it get’s dark, everyone grabs a spot on the grass and the Fire Department puts on a fireworks show. Traditional 4th of July really doesn’t get any better than this.
Like I said, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I figured out what the 4th meant to me, rather I gained a profound understanding of it. Almost all of us are either immigrants, or descendants of immigrants. We all came here to live a better life, and to enjoy the liberties and freedoms that our founders birthed 241 years ago. That freedom, most certainly did not come free. We fought a very bloody, eight year war against the strongest force in the world, for that freedom. Since then we have defended that freedom, and currently have one of the largest military forces on the planet. Mind you, it’s an entirely volunteer force. That fact should tell you something about our spirit. Our willingness to sacrifice so that others may be free. My understanding of this, my gratitude, came when I became a parent. Seeing my children grow, I understand the importance of this day and every day that we can live free. Free to live as we choose and so that our children can become who they want to be. So, from my family to yours, I hope you have a very happy 4th of July. If you get the chance, head up to Norris and enjoy the festivities. You won’t be disappointed.
Link: Norris TN