Fireflies: July Reflections: Happy Birthday, Miss Liberty         

Jul 2, 2012

July Reflections: Happy Birthday, Miss Liberty

Recollections of my preschool birthdays still bring me joyous smiles. Being born on July 3rd was certainly not without festivity. Flags, parades, decorations, picnics - all of this seemed like quite a big "to-do" just for "my" birthday. Once again Mom had made my traditional 2-layer pink, white and blue checkerboard cake (being frugal meant not using too much red food coloring). "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" was written in crooked red icing and little flags were all around the edge.

My sisters and I could hardly wait until it got dark after supper, because we knew what was coming - sparklers! We always got sparklers on my birthday! Around and around the
yard we would run, squealing with delight, writing our names in the air.  Box after box of sparklers were discarded, until we carefully lit our final one and danced in circles, bowing and twirling until the last little flicker went out.  "Remember," daddy said, "there'll  be bigger fireworks tomorrow."  Wow! Were my birthdays ever special!  But soon after I started school, I came to realize that "my" birthday fireworks were not for me at all, but for a famous lady. Someone named Lady Liberty. Who was she? Why was she so special?  

Through the years my pride in America grew as my knowledge of our great country deepened.  I loved being called a "firecracker baby" and until I married and left home, always insisted on having  a pink, white and blue checkerboard birthday cake with flags. And yet something was missing; I had a longing to meet this lady with whom I'd shared such fond memories. Then it finally happened. On my first trip to New York City, just 10 years ago, as my plane was flying over Ellis Island, the clouds parted and there she was. As I stared down at the loveliest lady in American history, I could only imagine how many hundreds of thousands of eyes had gazed upon her with hope for a new life. Her golden torch gleamed in the sunlight, with flames that do not destroy, but enlighten the future of thousands. I felt 

tears running down my cheeks.  "Oh, Miss Liberty, you deserve ALL the fireworks and even the sparklers!" I whispered.

This month we will be sharing books about the Statue of Liberty, flags and other symbols of our country.  It's never too early to instill pride in America. 

Mary Byrne Kline

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