David Rupkalvis

Independence Day has always held a special place in my heart.

And it’s not just because I’m proud to be an American. I am proud of our country, and I do believe we live in the best country in the world. But I’m not foolish enough to think we’re perfect.

My fondness for the Fourth of July is even more personal. I grew up the son of two Army soldiers. My mom was a nurse and my dad was in the Army band. Because of my dad’s job, Independence Day was always special.

No matter where we lived, the day started out with a parade somewhere — usually with the Army band near the very front. And the Fourth of July ended with a celebration in the park with the band performing up until the fireworks shows.

It was usually a long, hot and fun day for the entire family as we followed the band from one performance to another.

I’ve seen Independence Day celebrated with millions of people watching and in towns with only a couple of hundred. I’ve seen major parades and tiny ones.

Most of the time, the parades were military heavy. Living on or next to Army bases meant the parades would have big presence from soldiers.

The entries ranged from the band to buffalo soldiers to yes, heavy military equipment.

The bigger and badder, the better, especially when I was a younger child.

Who wouldn’t want to climb on a tank and walk through a military jet?

That’s one of the reasons I was surprised by the outcry when Pres. Trump announced he wanted to have a salute to America in Washington D.C. complete with tanks, flyovers and fireworks.

I thought it was a great idea and actually wondered why it didn’t happen every year. We’re talking about the nation’s capital. Realistically, the Fourth of July celebration in Washington D.C. should make every other celebration look lame — every year.

Yet when Trump announced his plans, many in the major media cried out like it was the end of the world.

Last week, I literally read major media personalities claiming Trump was hijacking the Fourth of July, he was preparing to take over the capital with force and how the presence of tanks was turning D.C. into Tiananmen Square.

Oh, and of course, I had to hear the many claiming having a few tanks and jets was the equivalent of Hitler. (Again, stop any references to Hitler. No one in the United States on either side of the political aisle is anything like Hitler.)

After all the outcry and fears and worry, here’s what happened on Independence Day. A massive crowd came out. They watched an amazing parade and listened to great music. And when Trump got up to speak, his entire speech was about our military and our country. It was true salute to the USA.

One thing those who hate Trump need to learn is when they act like Trump is a complete buffoon, all he has to do is act normal to come across as genius.

And from what I saw and heard, those who attended loved seeing tanks, they enjoyed the variety of jets that flew overhead. It was a true celebration of our country on its 243rd birthday.

And I’m sure somewhere during the day, one group of the Army band played patriotic music as their families watched nearby.

And in that group was a boy who enjoyed seeing his dad probably more than he enjoyed seeing the president. And maybe in 40 years, he will write about it.

Hopefully in that time, we still have a country worth celebrating.

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