Independence Day is just a week away. I'm looking forward to it and to all the excitement and patriotism that goes with it. In these time, to get all of this on the 4th of July, you must go to the television.

Independence Day is just a week away. I'm looking forward to it and to all the excitement and patriotism that goes with it. In these time, to get all of this on the 4th of July, you must go to the television.
In my "kiddom years," I attended many events on this date. There was always someone giving a rousing speech about America and the flag. The speaker was usually the mayor or some visiting politician. And, of course, there was always a minister who gave a prayer for our nation and its people.
The school band, or a town band, played a lot of John Phillip Sousa that day. The school kids who played in the band were usually sweating in their wool uniforms. They would never perform in jeans and tee-shirts. Hot or not, they always pulled it off and were proud of their performance.
The parks would be full of picnickers. On July 3, every chicken in town was running for its life as fried chicken was the on the menu at most picnics. A fireworks display was held at the city park just after dark.
Everything was held right in town so many people could walk to the different events. There were no traffic jams and the town was usually peaceful after the fireworks. There always seemed to be a couple of boys who had saved some fireworks and shot them off that night when most of the town was asleep. These were the same boys who turned someone's outhouse over at Halloween.
But they were part of the fabric of our town.
I don't know how this all worked without someone paid to put this all together. We had a fully volunteer fire department and one of the volunteer firemen came to my dad and asked for a fireworks donation. My father owned a grocery store and I suspect the businessmen paid for the fireworks. They all chipped in a few dollars.
Someone must have planned the entire thing. I suspect it was the local Lions Club as they were the only civic club in town. The ladies had a garden club, a book club and I am sure other groups. They probably helped set the agenda for the day. Someone asked their preacher to pray and the school had band practice for about a week to be sure everyone could play Sousa and the National Anthem.
The Fourth of July was a big thing in our town. As a kid, I though it was a blockbuster event. Those scenes from my childhood have stood with me all my life and I miss them. The fireworks weren't spectacular or long lasting. For a kid I'm sure the speech was too long, and someone always got sick at the picnic, but it was wonderful and made me feel good about my country, my town, and my friends.
Happy Independence Day!

Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.