July 4th parades should feature children, not tanks

Image by Katie Fox (Annabelle Rose Photography)
In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. – Isaiah 11:5-6

I am always a sucker for a great photograph. Maybe it’s because even as a writer I understand that words only go so far, and maybe it’s because in a great image there is also a true story being told – and that is what is really important to me, more important than my own words.

So when today, in the space of just a few minutes, I saw these two photos I knew exactly what my July 4th story needed to be. So, “Thank you” to Katie Ronan Fox of Annabelle Rose Photography (Pensacola), and Kelly Williams Black (Pennsylvania) for allowing me to use these powerful images today.

The Story of America is the Story of Promise

Image by Kelly Williams Black

I believe the story of America is most powerful when it is a story of promise and possibility. It is the story children represent so well when they stand on the sidewalk waving a flag and watch the parade go by – then sometimes running into the street and becoming part of the enthusiastic and ever-swelling throng. America is that parade.

I joined that parade in 1985 when I became a U.S. citizen. My young friend Vivi (pictured holding a sparkler) celebrated her first Fourth as an American in 2014. America is an idea and a promise that cannot be hemmed in by cynicism and must not be walled off by fear.

These images grabbed me because they remind me that the best parades are infiltrated by the spirit of children, and if we just pay attention we can be taught by them and invited to join them in their enthusiasm and their wide-open generous hearts.

Tanks squash things

Tanks do not belong in July Fourth parades, children do. If we want to celebrate what this day really means to us then we should not risk running over the spirit of the children with our tanks. Instead, we should grab our flags, light our sparklers, and follow the children (black, white, brown and more), because “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all” (Isaiah).

Happy Fourth, y’all! Let freedom ring! – DEREK


4 thoughts on “July 4th parades should feature children, not tanks

    1. that’s too bad – I’d rather you stay part of the conversation. My intention is to focus on the gospel, but I’m sure I am sometimes guilty of letting the good news affect my perception of current events. Peace to you


      1. I agree Derek. Tanks change the whole spirit of the parade. I love parades. Floats, marching bands, dancers, children, Snoopy, Arthur, Mickey Mouse, cars full of clowns, laughter, joy. Celebrating freedom… Very different.


  1. dmichaels659

    jabo052 – I agree with Derek because we improve the discourse and decisions/direction in all situations by continuing to listen and participate vs. disconnecting when you hear something you don’t like or disagree with. To that end – thanks for sharing your thoughts – your observation is valid. That said, I thought the manner in which you, Derek, brought the Bible into your position was key to ensuring we could all make the connection from political to biblical. And, for what it is worth, I could not agree more. Are we trying to be more like the USSR, or North Korea, now? Perhaps there is an occasion where tanks would be a fitting addition, but parades that celebrate the birth of our country are not that place, imho, either. As always, I appreciate the way you make us consider every day life and the Bible in harmony, Derek. God bless this country, and our leaders!!


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