Being one of the most beloved holidays in America, the Fourth of July holds many sentimental dialogues from people who celebrate it every year. In Muncie, Indiana, people gather to Minitrista Park and lay their picnic mats while awaiting the spectacle of fireworks that will later arrive.
In line with the celebration, people wear red, white and blue shirts, hats that venerate the American flag and other paraphernalia to greet American Freedom in her 236th birthday. To some this is an avenue to meet with friends, enjoy great music and barbeque but to John Michael Metzcar the 4th of July is more than a celebration – it is a tribute to all those heroes who fought in the war for their country. “They’re going to salute the arms forces [so] they’ll do a special one for the navy and he’ll [Mike] stand up” – Sue, Mike’s wife, when asked how the event inspires and gives worth to American heroes.
As a navy veteran, Mike joined the Vietnam War and served his country. “Although I didn’t agree with that war there was still a feeling that we would serve during that time and we did”, the war reminded him much of heroes who fought for the country wholeheartedly. According to him the Fourth of July renews the spirit of unity for the United States as a whole. “It reminds me of my feeling of oneness with the country” he remarks.
The concept of the American freedom can come in any form, to Mike and his family it is in remembering the reason for freedom and giving value to its founding fathers. “A time for you to think about the values you believe in that are for your country” – for Sue, being a veteran’s wife, remembering the great heroes who paved way for the liberty of America instills the lesson of gratefulness and love for country.
In Mike’s perspective teaching the next generation the spirit of the Fourth of July requires the art of looking back to history and the Civil War, the appreciation of the past to celebrate the present. “Patriotism” – Mike remarked as He and his wife wander the spectacle of Minitrista and as they join the celebration they are reminded of the true essence of freedom and the gift of the heroes of July.