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July 4th 2022


Dearest Elena,


It has been some time since Mommy has written a letter to you about the holidays. God knows Mommy misses our conversations, and she promises your faithful readers, there are more to come!


What holiday are we celebrating this month, why 4th of July! Our book is F IS FOR FLAG by Wendy Cheyette Lewison. You are familiar with the 4th of July because it’s the holiday that celebrates the birthday of our great nation, the United States of America, when our Declaration of Independence from England was formally signed. Our book is all about the American flag and how it’s a metaphor for our beautiful country. It begins by pointing out that we always see our flag everywhere around us… “We see our flag—in happy times and sad times. Our flag is so many places because we are proud of it. It stands for our country and for us the people who live here.”


Elena you ask me, “Is now a happy or a sad time?” It’s hard to say. On the one hand, because we live in America and have the gorgeous privilege of being free, we need to appreciate that and think of ourselves as happy. Because we are free, we can celebrate with our friends and family. However, right now we’re also dealing with a post pandemic which can make life more difficult, and that makes many people sad. In fact most of the time things are a combination of happy and sad which has to do with how the people are being affected by things.


Then our book asks, “Who are we?” It answers, “We are all kinds of people, different in many ways.” However, we work, live, and play together like one big family, one country, one family, one flag. How is it we are all different yet still the same? We have different cultures, upbringing, ethnicities, different ways we look at ourselves and the world, and different perspectives. However, despite our differences, we are here together as ONE, as Americans.


Oh, you’re so smart, you say, “Don’t we have things that are the same?” Absolutely, like the fact that we all have one brain and one heart, and we all have the ability to live, work and play because we live in The United States of America. No matter our differences, we will be celebrating July 4th together, for the same reason. Mommy believes that our diversity is the very thing that can make us so strong, and that we indeed grace each other by being in one another’s presence. Mommy likes to include that we are gracing the presence not just of each other, but every living animal, plant and creature.


After talking about the how the flag represents the people in America, it talks about how our flag looks different today than it did when our country first started. Then it had 13 stars standing for the first 13 states of the Union. Now there are 50 stars representing our 50 states! But we still have thirteen stripes on our flag to remember the first 13. It talks about the songs we sing about our flag that brings tears to people’s eyes, particularly the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem.


Finally, it mentions something you will learn when you enter school, the Pledge of Allegiance. This is a promise to be a good American. As we recite the Pledge of Allegiance and make this promise, we hold our hand over our heart, showing we mean what we say. The author shares that not only is F for our flag, but also for family, friends, and freedom, too. I love that she adds this very important reminder.


There are many traditions associated with this very special holiday, but one that is truly special is the spectacular fireworks. Did you know that every year since before you were born Mommy makes a prayer when she sees these fireworks? She prays that her friends and family will always be happy and healthy and safe. On this July 4th, may we all pray for the happiness, health and safety of all the families in America and may we always stay united as one great big family, working and playing under one flag.


I pray, Elena, you grow to be a good American and a good person who follows her heart. May you always appreciate being free to become who you beautifully will grow to be, and may honoring and protecting the freedom to be different and live under one flag, endure in this great nation for centuries to come.


HAPPY 4th of July, ELENA! I LOVE YOU!!!


Mommy

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