Monday, July 6, 2009

July 4th Celebration

What a fun, crazy weekend! I'm sure most of you can say the same thing. I suspect most of us were out celebrating the birth of our nation, enjoying family traditions and food. This year, we decided to make up some fun things to eat. We created shish-kebabs.

We grilled them outside and they cooked up in a hurry.

Here Devin is showing off the finished product.

We also made up a favorite triple-layer jello salad.

And to top everything off, we made homemade huckleberry ice cream. Jealous? ;)

Later we went into town and listened to a live band that was performing at the park. After that, we enjoyed the fireworks display that was launched from M-Hill in Montpelier. I forgot to bring in my camera, so I didn't get any cool shots that night.

All weekend I've been thinking about past 4th of July festivities and I realized that one of my favorite celebrations took place in Nauvoo, Illinois a couple of years ago. We had journeyed back to see all of the historical LDS sites that summer and happened to be in Nauvoo on the 4th of July. We started that day by taking a fun wagon ride around this beautiful city.

After that, we watched the 4th of July parade. It was smaller than our usual hometown parade, but it was still great to see. Most of the entries were compliments of the LDS missionaries who were serving in the area.

Above you'll see some of the actors & actresses from the Nauvoo Pageant.

And here is the famed Nauvoo Brass Band.

After the parade, we walked around a local craft fair and found all kinds of neat things, including some of the best home-made fudge ever. Then we traveled to nearby Carthage, Illinois and toured Carthage Jail. This was the second time that I've seen this heart-rending landmark. It tears at my heart whenever I think about what Joseph and Hyrum Smith suffered inside this jail. But there is a difference now. Since the completion of the new Nauvoo Temple, there is a feeling of peace in the area. That is what I experienced during most of the time we spent in Carthage. There is a sense of closure now that wasn't there before.

We left Carthage, and drove across the Mississippi River into nearby Keokuk. There we were privileged to watch as a huge barge traveled through a river lock and dam.

We returned to Nauvoo, grabbed a quick bite of lunch, then watched a rehearsal of the Nauvoo Pageant. We were leaving Nauvoo the next day to head to Adam-Ondi-Ahman and Liberty Jail, and since the pageant wasn't being performed the night of the 4th for obvious reasons, we were told to watch the afternoon rehearsal. It was an enjoyable performance, enacted below the temple.

My favorite part of the entire day took place that night. We gathered in front of the lighted Nauvoo Temple and watched the fireworks display that was launched across the Mississippi River.

I've always loved celebrating the 4th of July. My maternal grandfather was born on July 4th, so it was a traditional family gathering each year. We ate wonderful food, spent time visiting with everyone, and thoroughly enjoyed the fireworks at night. Flags were flown and waved as we remembered those who sacrificed so much to make this nation free. I found it ironic that on July 4, 2007, we also reflected on the sacrifices made by Joseph and his beloved brother, Hyrum as we visited the Nauvoo area. All of these sacrifices pale in comparison to the price our Savior paid for all of us. Things of worth seem to require a tremendous cost. I pray we'll always be grateful for those who were willing to lay down their lives on our behalf. Honoring their memory will help us keep the perspective we'll need to survive the days ahead.

No comments: