I was digging through my “holiday” box and while trying to untangle my slinky-like bouncy red, white and blue star headband antenas I took a moment (the 17 minutes it took me to get the two antenas apart) and thought about how versatile our country is, our heroes are and our beliefs are. It’s astonishing. We are all created equal, created in the same way (hold on your political views) yet we all turn out differently. We have people fighting in other countries for our freedom and how do I use that freedom? I buy Starbucks twice a day? I walk home at night in the dark (without mace), I complain when it’s too hott and bitch when it’s too cold?
At the point where my fingers started to get red from the coils I decided that this Fourth of July I wasn’t going to to eat my first (yes first) cupcake with an American Flag on it, I wasn’t going to channel my inner Toby Keith and put my boot where the sun don’t shine, but I was going to read stories about our American heroes, be present at events and finally put my phone down; because a real life handshake and thank you last a lot longer than a Facebook post. I want the world to know the stories of Kari Miller, Sgt. Jerrod Fields, understand what WCAP means and realize the tough times that welcome our loved ones from war.
By the time I realized the LED light didn’t work in my headband anymore (about 15 minutes in) I had opened up my computer and emailed Chris Spatola, CBS basketball analyst super star and moderated numero uno in Google’s #HeroesHangout. I had to get our third episode in the works. The connections between who we idolize in sports and our military service men and women are endless. Analysts like Chris, coaches like Mike Krzyzewski, Paralympic medalists like Kari Miller and track stars like Jerrod Fields all served (Jerrod currently serving) and have deep roots to the U.S. Military. There is something about leadership and being a team player that attracts these five-star, inspirational and just freaking awesome humans to do what’s right in the moment.
I’m bad at that. I think too much about me.
I want to use this Fourth of July to thank the teams, coaches and athletes who recognize our real heroes. I want to thank those like Jeremy Lin who joined military men and women in our second episode of #HeroesHangout who ended the add, “basketball doesn’t really compare to all the things that you guys are doing in your day-to-day jobs but teamwork is still really important.” I want to thank those athletes who faced extreme adversity, lost pieces of their soul and body and continue to wear camo, continue to play for their country and continue to show us that life goes on. I would like to thank the children, wives, husbands and friends who allow their loved ones to leave the safe haven of their arms to put their training to the test for those they have never met. I would like to thank the police, fire and special units of the United States who respond at a moments notice to calls and without hesitation put themselves on the front lines to ensure the safety of those who may not have done the same back.
I want to use this long weekend to thank all of those who have the “act now” and “do what’s right in the moment” mentality. And in honor of all of those people I am going to work on my mind set. I will think less of what I will get out of a situation and more about those my actions affect. As the memes, gifs and hashtags circle the web this weekend I hope I don’t see any until Monday morning. I hope I am away from my computer and I hope you are too. I hope my photos can wait to be posted and I hope that I can’t sum up my weekend in 140 characters.
Remember: there is no better filter than the one your sunglasses make; the best use of the # sign is when dialing your family members to tell them the party has started; show your neighbors, friends and veterans that you like them by sharing the view of those sparkly fireworks.
Have a wonderful, safe and memorable Fourth of July and be sure to neatly put away your decoration because 17 minutes untangling a dead headband is 17 minutes you are losing in the sun!