First I'd like to wish a belated Happy Canada Day to all our Heartwarming family and friends who kicked off July with Canada's birthday celebration. I hope your fireworks and fun were as wonderful as what we're all anticipating here in the United States!
Every year, my family (and just about everyone in town) heads out to our county park. Being in the country, the park consists of wide open spaces used for field sports, horseback riding, plus a fishing pond and a swimming pool. Its huge fields and unobstructed view of a dark, rural sky make it the perfect place for a fireworks display...and every year the fireworks get better and better. Or so it seems. Maybe it just seems that way because of all the fun we're having in the moment.
The park's Independence Day event includes kettle corn stands run by local farmer known for the best sweet and salty popped corn, stands for drinks, cotton candy, burgers and anything else one might fancy. Oh, and a kids favorite is the tent where they can buy just about every red-white-and-blue party toy imaginable, from streamers to flags to glow necklaces to giant sunglasses and more.
By early afternoon, the main field is tiled with a mosaic of picnic blankets, all surrounding a live band stage. The entire experience wouldn't be the same without that live music adding to the energy and spirit of the day.
So...I've compiled a list of songs I love hearing on the 4th of July. They're in no particular order, though I probably have my favorites, and it's in no way complete. There are so many awesome, patriotic songs out there...especially country music hits. If you were designated DJ for your Independence Day celebration, what songs would you include? If you're Canadian, feel free to share yours too :).
1. Born in the USA - Bruce Springstein
2. God Bless the USA - Lee Greenwood
3. For You - Keith Urban (this one was written for the Act of Valor movie)
4. Only in America - Brooks and Dunn
5. American Saturday Night - Brad Paisley
6. America - Simon and Garfunkel
7. Philadelphia Freedom - Elton John (not written to be, but ended up being/sounding patriotic)
8. Some Gave All - Billy Ray Cyrus
9. Born Free - Kid Rock (that's Kid, not Karen ;)
10. American Soldier - Toby Keith
11. Travelin' Soldier - The Dixie Chicks (and yes, I listed the last two back to back, given controversial history, because I'm not taking political sides here. I sing this in the shower...it's so romantic)
12 America the Beautiful
13. The Star Spangled Banner
The last two are a given and are always played when the fireworks near their grande finale.
And not to be a party pooper or stick-in-the-mud, but before I go, I need to shout out a safety reminder. Fourth of July celebrations can lead to a lot of injuries. In particular, eye injuries that can include foreign objects, lacerations and burns. Around 25% of eye injuries actually happen to bystanders and not the person playing with hand held sparklers or similar firework fun. Don't let children do the handling. The adult lighting hand held 'fireworks' should wear eye protection, keep a bucket of water or hose nearby and stay a safe distance from bystanders. Sparklers are the worst. They can reach 1800 degrees F. Imagine the damage. Avoid buying them and, instead, go see the massive, orchestrated professional firework displays around town. For hand held fun, I buy my kids all the glow-in-the-dark sticks they want.
Whew! Okay. Said my piece. Now back to the music!What do you think? Would you let me stick around as DJ? What would your requests be?