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“Ooh, there’s gonna be fireworks (Fireworks!)

On the Fourth of July (red, white, and blue!)

Red, white, and blue fireworks.

Like diamonds in the sky.”


School House Rock Season 3, Episode 8, Fireworks! aired on July 3, 1976, and is a true American classic.

With a catchy tune and rhythm, the cartoon is a timeless way to teach about the Declaration of Independence, connecting the fireworks, our colors, and celebrations back to the holiday’s historical significance.

July 4, 1776, marks a break from a monarch, a “tyrannical” king, and a step towards participatory governance.

By 1777, the red, white, and blue flag representing the thirteen colonies had been adopted. It would take another seven years, and a failed plan of government, for our nation to form.

George Washington called our Constitution, “the last great experiment in human happiness.” (

We are unique. School House Rock dubbed us a “melting pot,” but we are more of a “salad bowl”—lots of different veggies, a few fruits and nuts, and an array of dressings.

Despite our differences, living in this country and having US citizenship is precious. Whether you were born here or immigrated and attained citizenship (or are working through the proper channels to become a citizen), the protections offered to citizens of the United States are worth defending.

Sometimes, our youth (and many adults) must be reminded of that. Independence Day is a great opportunity.

There will be many flags flying on the 4th of July. The original Stars & Stripes is the symbol that unifies our fifty states.

For those in the military, it is a habit to stand when the flag is presented. In public schools, it is state law that students must show full respect to the flag by, at least, standing at attention.

There are exceptions to be noted. Some non-exempt students still refuse. Why? Ted Lasso would say, “Be curious, not judgmental.”

“Why do you not stand for your nation’s most important symbol?” Responses range from “I’m tired” to “Those weren’t my fathers.” This is a teachable moment.

Looking back, it would be easy for some of us to cry foul on the original Independence Day. No women, nor people of color were among the signors. No openly LGBTQ+ members were represented.

When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, slavery continued, making one question the words “equal” and “just.”  Only land-owning Caucasian males had a hand in crafting the Declaration, the Constitution, and even the first ten amendments in the Bill of Rights which came about in 1789.

Times have changed and will continue to do so, as long as we continue experimenting.

Since 1789, the U.S. Constitution has been amended to end involuntary servitude, ensure all citizens aged 18 and over have the right to vote, and provide equal protection under the law. Perhaps a constitutional amendment to amend the amendment process might be next.  After all, holding a nation of vegetables (and fruits and nuts) together is hard work.

We have grown from thirteen colonies to fifty states and fourteen territories. Change is inevitable.  The question is, “Will you stand for a flag that represents your right NOT to stand? Will you stand for those who fought, and many who died, to continue the experiment that allows for open dialogue about our differences, our needs, our hopes, and our dreams?”

Our independence, our freedom, is rooted in a declaration signed in 1776. This is where it all began, and it can only get better if we work together.

John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that the 4th of July, “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” (

So, let’s stand. Let’s celebrate what we have, knowing there is more work ahead.  There will assuredly always be fireworks!


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