Thursday, July 3, 2014

Playlist for Your July 4th Celebration By Rula Sinara


First I'd like to wish a belated Happy Canada Day to all our Heartwarming family and friends who kicked off July with Canada's birthday celebration. I hope your fireworks and fun were as wonderful as what we're all anticipating here in the United States!

Every year, my family (and just about everyone in town) heads out to our county park. Being in the country, the park consists of wide open spaces used for field sports, horseback riding, plus a fishing pond and a swimming pool. Its huge fields and unobstructed view of a dark, rural sky make it the perfect place for a fireworks display...and every year the fireworks get better and better. Or so it seems. Maybe it just seems that way because of all the fun we're having in the moment.

The park's Independence Day event includes kettle corn stands run by local farmer known for the best sweet and salty popped corn, stands for drinks, cotton candy, burgers and anything else one might fancy. Oh, and a kids favorite is the tent where they can buy just about every red-white-and-blue party toy imaginable, from streamers to flags to glow necklaces to giant sunglasses and more.



By early afternoon, the main field is tiled with a mosaic of picnic blankets, all surrounding a live band stage. The entire experience wouldn't be the same without that live music adding to the energy and spirit of the day.

So...I've compiled a list of songs I love hearing on the 4th of July. They're in no particular order, though I probably have my favorites, and it's in no way complete. There are so many awesome, patriotic songs out there...especially country music hits. If you were designated DJ for your Independence Day celebration, what songs would you include? If you're Canadian, feel free to share yours too :).

1. Born in the USA - Bruce Springstein
2. God Bless the USA - Lee Greenwood
3. For You - Keith Urban (this one was written for the Act of Valor movie)
4. Only in America - Brooks and Dunn
5. American Saturday Night - Brad Paisley
6. America - Simon and Garfunkel
7. Philadelphia Freedom - Elton John (not written to be, but ended up being/sounding patriotic)
8. Some Gave All - Billy Ray Cyrus
9. Born Free - Kid Rock (that's Kid, not Karen ;)
10. American Soldier - Toby Keith
11. Travelin' Soldier - The Dixie Chicks (and yes, I listed the last two back to back, given controversial history, because I'm not taking political sides here. I sing this in the shower...it's so romantic)
12 America the Beautiful
13. The Star Spangled Banner

The last two are a given and are always played when the fireworks near their grande finale.



And not to be a party pooper or stick-in-the-mud, but before I go, I need to shout out a safety reminder. Fourth of July celebrations can lead to a lot of injuries. In particular, eye injuries that can include foreign objects, lacerations and burns. Around 25% of eye injuries actually happen to bystanders and not the person playing with hand held sparklers or similar firework fun. Don't let children do the handling. The adult lighting hand held 'fireworks' should wear eye protection, keep a bucket of water or hose nearby and stay a safe distance from bystanders. Sparklers are the worst. They can reach 1800 degrees F. Imagine the damage. Avoid buying them and, instead, go see the massive, orchestrated professional firework displays around town. For hand held fun, I buy my kids all the glow-in-the-dark sticks they want.

Whew! Okay. Said my piece. Now back to the music!What do you think? Would you let me stick around as DJ? What would your requests be?

22 comments:

  1. Rula, you live someplace that sounds like where we lived when my kids were growing up. We had a lovely small park where we had celebrations for any excuse. I used to do face painting for the kids, and at that time it was rainbows, unicorns and super heroes which I got pretty good at doing. And of course on 4th of July, flags. You can be my DJ, I really love all of those songs. It's been so hot here I think they'll cancel our fire works again unless we get some rain. They're saying 30% chance. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I second the have a safe and sane holiday.

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    1. Roz, I forgot about face painting! Yes, that too. That's really cool that you were the face painter. We're expecting close to 100% rain tonight...I think because of Hurricane Arthur coming up the east coast, but hopefully none to wash out tomorrow. Our park celebrations did get washed out a few years ago. It was still afternoon and many of us had arrived and put out our blankets etc... The band was warming up and things were getting underway...and then the skies let loose. We're talking severe downpour with thunder and lightening (not good in an open field). Everyone had to abandon their things and run for the pool house or their cars. We stayed crowded in the pool house with our kids and everyone else for at least 30 min before it lightened up enough to leave. Those blankets were soaked lol and the event had to be called off. A bummer, but definitely an unforgettable 4th of July!

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  2. Great post, Rula! Thank you for the belated good wishes for Canada Day.

    I wish I lived close enough to be able to join in your town's Fourth of July celebrations!

    Harlequin put a series of questions to a few Canadian authors about how we celebrate Canada Day and posted the responses on the home page of the Harlequin Reader Service on July 1st. One of the questions had to do with the music we like to hear.

    My response to that question was that I happily defer to my husband in that regard, as he is the musically inclined one in our family. Had I known how skilled you are at putting together a playlist, I would have added that you can be our DJ anytime.

    Consider this an open invitation for next year's Canada Day celebrations!

    Happy Fourth of July!

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    1. LOL, Kate. I haven't been to Canada, though I do have relatives on my hubby's side in Montreal. This would make for a fun trip ;).

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  3. Happy Fourth, Rula - and everyone! You can be my DJ anytime. Just thinking about God Bless the USA makes me cry. I can still see Lee Greenwood on the stage at the special program after 9/11 in his red, white and blue, stars and stripes leather jacket singing that. I love Toby Keith AND the Dixie Chicks! We have a waterfront celebration with fireworks and the boats all sound their horns when it's over. We have a perfect view from our dining room window.

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    1. Okay, forgive if this posts twice but blogger just ate my reply...

      Muriel, it makes me cry too! And fireworks over water, reflections and all, are amazing to watch. We celebrated one year with a friend who lives by a lake. The fireworks were spectacular.

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  4. Hi Rula! On your trip to Canada, make sure to come to Edmonton too:) I love living in Canada, but I would become an American in a heartbeat if someone would let me lol. Our festivities are great, but they pale in comparison to the U.S. And Traveling Soldier makes me cry every time I hear it lol.
    Happy July 4th!!

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    1. Jennifer, I'd love to visit! Yes, we do know how to party lol ;).

      I absolutely love Travelin' Soldier (and Cowboy, Take Me Away...and so many Dixie Chicks songs)...it's just one of those songs that gets you right in the heart.

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    2. I won a karaoke contest in a bar in P.E.I (when I was underage, shhh) singing Cowboy, Take Me Away lol. Love that song:)

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    3. That's awesome, Jen! I'm not brave enough for karaoke, but if there's a K. stage in San Antonio, we'll have to get you to sing it for us! :)

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  5. Rula, you rock (or maybe I should say you 'country'?) You have excellent taste in music! If you were DJ-ing my party (and please would you DJ my party?) I would add Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band--it's not overtly patriotic but it feels patriotic to me(: I love celebrating our country's independence, but fireworks stress me out because of my overly sensitive border collie. My husband and I usually end up going to an early bbq with family then home to close the windows, turn on the fans and volume up on the TV to disguise the noise as best we can lol. But I sure do love that kettle corn...

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    1. Aw, thanks, Carol :). Obviously you have excellent taste because I LOVE Zac Brown Band and 'Chicken Fried'!!! How did I not think of that. What's more American than fried chicken lol ;). Every time he comes on the radio, I raise the volume. There's such an earthy, sincere quality to his (their) voice.

      Oh, and kettle corn is so addictive!

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    2. Carol. Are you against using an anti-anxiety medication? Cheyenne hates fireworks, too (and thunder) and shakes until it seems she'll come apart. But now I give her one little pill give us by her vet and she just sort of zones out and doesn't notice. Much less stressful for all of us.

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  6. You mention all the wonderful things connected with the forth. Great post. I love everything about July 4th except the fireworks. My memories aren’t happy: my uncle, a WWII veteran, going into shock when the fireworks reverberated their booms against the mountains; a Laotian woman cowering in my back seat during a fireworks display; the men tossed off their boat in the Hudson River when their fireworks exploded in front of us. And everyone on the river bank clapped because we thought it was such a wonderful display until we learned the men had been killed. I can't shake off those memories whenever I see any firework displays.

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    1. Oh, Marion, that's awful! I can't blame you for not being able to shake off those memories. I wouldn't be able to either. I hope you get to enjoy all the other things you like about the 4th with family and friends...and a quiet and peaceful evening in honor of all those who've dedicated their lives to preserving our peace and freedom...including your uncle :).

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  7. Great list of songs for the 4th of July! I love holidays like this where families come together for cookouts and fireworks. Such a fun laid back holiday where everyone comes together but there isn't all of the hustle and bustle like at Christmas time.

    Angie Young
    http://thelittlereadingcabin.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Angie!

      You make a great point about the 4th! It really is one of the more pressure free holidays where everyone can stop, relax and enjoy the time with friends and family. Even the cookouts and picnics are more casual than holiday meals. I'm history worked out so that Independence Day would fall during summer lol ;). Summer wouldn't be the same without it!

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    2. And that should have said 'I'm glad history worked out..."

      :)

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    1. Thanks, Mel. Hope you have a great 4th of July!

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  9. I want to party with you on the Fourth! Sounds like fun and I love kettle corn :) To add to your playlist, maybe Neil Diamond's "America" also referred to as "Coming to America" or "They're Coming to America" My parents always listened to that! Have a fun holiday xo

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    1. Let's party, Karen! Too funny that you picked Neil Diamond. That's a great one. I've actually been to a Neil Diamond concert. It's the only live concert (of the major type) I've ever been to (I know...sad). I was a kid and I knew all his songs, but the reason I went is that my parents wanted me to 'chaperone' my older sister and her then fiancee. I know it sounds crazy lol, but that's how I ended up at a Neil Diamond concert ;).

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