America loves its three-day holiday weekends — and this particular extended time off is 240 years in the making!
Yes, our nation’s Independence Day will be observed this Monday, and amidst the pomp, circumstance and fireworks displays, we have an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go, as a democratic nation.
But for all the turmoil and confusion that exists within our borders and across oceans, this is an opportunity for “We, The People” to celebrate the many rich accomplishments our still relatively young nation has achieved. In the spirit of all things Americana, we offer a few amazing lyrics for inspiration as you prepare for a day at the beach, fire up the barbecue, partake in a softball game or light up sparklers. Because no Fourth of July celebration is complete without a solid contemporary playlist.
There’s a few gold standards, of course: “The Star-Spangled Banner” (both Jimi Hendrix’s and Whitney Houston’s versions come to mind), “America the Beautiful” (performed by Ray Charles) and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” should all be included. And the Neil Diamond classic “America,” which proudly proclaims what has been true for decades, that our nation is a haven for those from other countries, other cultures, seeking a better day and a better way of life: “Everywhere around the world / They’re coming to America / Every time that flag’s unfurled / They’re coming to America / Got a dream to take them there / They’re coming to America / Got a dream they’ve come to share / They’re coming to America.”
No list is complete without Bruce Springsteen. An easy choice would be “Born in the U.S.A.,” but America isn’t always about easy choices, so we’ll go with “American Land,” a rockin’ look at the experience of American immigrants who came through Ellis Island: “I docked at Ellis Island in a city of light and spires / She met me in the valley of red-hot steel and fire / We made the steel that built the cities with our sweat and two hands / And we made our home in the American Land.” You also can’t go wrong with Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” (arguably the nation’s most popular folk song), “Our Country” by John Mellencamp, Sammy Hagar’s “Remember the Heroes” and Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag.”
This, of course, is not an all-encompassing list. Feel free to add your own patriotic songs when checking out the following area holiday festivities:
Royal Palm Beach’s Star Spangled Spectacular will be a two-day event starting on Sunday, July 3 at Royal Palm Beach Commons Park (11600 Poinciana Blvd.). The first day will have a kids fun zone, arts and crafts vendors, and food from various food trucks. The kids fun zone will be accessible from 5 to 9 p.m., and wristbands can be purchased for $5 each. Monday, July 4 will provide even more fun starting at 1 p.m. The kids fun zone will be open from 1 to 8 p.m., and requires the purchase of a $10 wristband. The event will have shopping, an arts and crafts show, an interactive DJ, games and more. There will also be a variety of tournaments, including fishing, golf, volleyball and cornhole. There will be plenty of area bands jamming, all culminating with a fireworks show at 9 p.m. For more information about Royal Palm Beach’s Star Spangled Spectacular, call (561) 790-5124 or visit www.royalpalmbeach.com.
In Wellington, the fun begins Monday, July 4 at the Wellington Aquatics Complex, where people can enjoy a patriotic pool party starting at noon. After the pool party, the activities shift to Village Park on Pierson Road from 6 to 10 p.m. The celebration will include games, free pony rides, face painting, a petting zoo, a tribute performance by the Long Run band, food trucks and fireworks. While parking is available at Village Park, it is expected to fill up quickly. A free shuttle service will be available from the Palm Tran bus stop area at the Mall at Wellington Green to Village Park from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information on the celebration in Wellington, call (561) 791-4000 or visit www.wellingtonfl.gov.