Cherish Your Freedom, Celebrate Freedom, Let Freedom Ring

Despite COVID, in light of COVID, we will survive COVID!

My family has Cherish Your Freedom, Celebrate Freedom, Let Freedom Ringcelebrated the Fourth of July pretty casually over the years. When I was a kid, the only thing we would typically do is go to the beach on South Padre Island and make it a weekend affair. We’d go on the weekend closest to the Fourth and spend three or four days there. The only trouble was that it seemed as though most of South Texas had the same idea, which meant the beach was pretty crowded. Despite how many people were there, we always had a lot of fun. It was usually just the four of us — my parents, my brother, and myself — but sometimes, a few extended family members would come with us. Before we set off, we’d make sure we had plenty of burgers, hot dogs, and brisket. We’d spend all weekend having fun out on the water, playing on the sand, and barbecuing. I always liked sitting around the barbecue to relax, talk, and just really enjoy each other’s company.

Then, if the Fourth happened to land on a weekend, we’d also go out to watch the fireworks. Sometimes people would set off fireworks over the weekend anyway, regardless of if it was the Fourth or not. It was always exciting to catch the professional fireworks displays when we had the chance. One year when we were on South Padre Island, everyone decided to watch the fireworks show out on the water. The family got into my brother-in-law’s boat, and we floated out near the barge from where the fireworks were shot. There were other boats around us in the water, and all of us were directly under the fireworks in the air. Sitting in the bay like that with the fireworks above us was really pretty.

Back then, an official fireworks display on South Padre Island only happened on the Fourth of July if it happened to land on a Saturday or Sunday. Since then, the shows would start on Friday and Saturday nights around 9:30. Whenever we go for a weekend, the family can head out on the balcony of where we’re staying and watch them. It’s always a great way to end the day. While celebrating the Fourth with fireworks, barbecues, and family is a fantastic way to spend the holiday, I think it’s equally important not to forget the reason behind the celebration. It’s a time to spend remembering what was at stake during the fight for our country’s freedoms, which is even more relevant today. Because of the coronavirus, we’re missing out on a lot of the social freedoms we’ve enjoyed up until this point. I know I am. I really miss being able to see my family and coworkers and even just passing someone while at the store. I can’t wait to get back to where we can talk to one another and hug without worrying about transmitting and spreading the virus. For me, I never realized how much I would miss going to restaurants and enjoying the company of family and friends after a long day. Although we might not be able to enjoy all those social freedoms right now, I think it’s still incredibly important to cherish the ones we do have. I hope that we can all enjoy one another’s company soon, whether that’s for the Fourth, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other important celebration.



-Ric Garcia

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