Category Archives: 4th of July

My 4th of July: Sweat, Rain, and Urine

In my short time of only 5 years of marriage I have has some wonderful and eventful 4th of July’s. I have had some very patriotic one’s and some that were ho-hum, but yesterday’s was probably the most eventful and I will likely remember it for a long time.

For each of the last 3 years, we have celebrated the 4th on the Military Base in which we live (and are soon moving from!!). The base has a great fireworks show and often has activities for the kids and plenty food. We also enjoy sticking around because we get together with a bunch of our close friends from Church who have kids the same age as ours. What is also great about the location is that the fort hosts the show on a huge parade field, so there is plenty of open space for people to sit and for us to toss a football around, it is really fun. The negative, like any big event, is traffic and parking. The base pretty well opens up to the public so there are tons of people, in fact three 4ths ago it took us an hour to get home when on a normal day it only takes about 5 minutes (we live on the base for crying out loud).

So, yesterday we decided that instead of driving over we would would ride our bikes and put the kids in the bike trailer (our kids are (nearly) 3 and 1 y.o.). I had been watching the forecast for a day or two and it indicated that scattered thunderstorms were likely and rain was a 60% chance. That was not going to deter us, we just planned accordingly (and thank goodness we did!). Well, our whole group was supposed to meet at the parade field at about 5:30 or 6:00 (PM), we didn’t get the kids in the trailer until about 6:30, when, of course, it started to rain. So we took the kids out and went back inside and ate our picnic dinner on the floor of the house. After about 15 minutes we went back out, it was only a light drizzle, loaded up the kids (with two camp chairs, a tent, and a blanket in the trailer also), and headed off. Oye! pulling that weight on the bike tore me up, not to mention the insane humidity (anyone who says there is no difference between wet heat and dry heat has lost their mind). When we finally got to the parade field and met up with our friends I was sweating like I had just hiked the Sahara Desert. It was disgusting.

I had felt a little silly about bringing the tent because our entire group of about 25 people just had chairs, blanket, and umbrella’s. So I decided that I was not going to set up the tent unless I though strong rain was imminent. As I kept watching the sky I noticed that to the West were huge black rain clouds. This was my sign, so I set up the tent, then almost immediately the rain started. It started as a light drizzle and the picked up intensity, my wife put her and the kids in the tent, and everyone started trying to get under some cover. Me and the other guys there pretty much avoided the tent just to make sure all of our wives and children could have the cover they needed, but then the heavens opened up! I caved and went into the tent and sat with my fam and about 6 other women and about 10 kids (all in a 3 man tent!). The guys, who were all soaking wet by now razzed me pretty well. They said things like, “Swint, you guys having a Relief Society meeting in there?” “How are all you women and kids doing?” I just rolled with it and pointed out that at all Relief Society meetings there was supposed to be a priesthood holder there, so I was just presiding. That got a chuckle. For the record, everyone who wanted to come in came in, besides we don’t own an umbrella, our last one broke, and my daughter was really happy I was there to hold her during the storm. (Although, I joked that I was like George Costanza in Seinfeld when he is at the kids b-day party, a fire breaks out, and he pushes the kids and old ladies out of the way to save himself).

After the storm we all got out, my 3 y.o. daughter was fairly scared so I stayed with her for a while. The parade field was virtually empty, everyone evacuated during the storm. So this was about 8:30 and all was well after that, with a 9:45 scheduled fireworks show. Well, my daughter is kind of a scaredy cat. Last year during the FW show she buried her face in my chest and covered her ears. I had hoped that being a year older would change that. Well, it didn’t. She was sitting on my lap when the show started and with the first crack of the fireworks she covered her eyes with her hands and buried into me again. So, I turned her around and let her put her head on my shoulder, a friend sitting next to us gave us a blanket with which my daughter wrapped herself in like a cocoon, I didn’t know if she could breath. So about 5 minutes in while I am talking to her and trying to comfort her (and fortunately she didn’t cry at all) I felt a warm sensation around my waist and thigh’s, oh yes, she pee’d on me! It was awful, but what could I do, I couldn’t change clothes or take her off of me, she was too scared. So I just sat there, fuming and disgusted. The show lasted another 25 minutes, the whole time I was feeling bad about her and also thinking that I had to ride my bike at 10:30 pm, pulling two kids, and covered with urine. Nevertheless, the show was impressive, the base does a fantastic job.

So we packed up and headed home. Before we left I had found two bike lights that mount on the front of bikes, unfortunately we did not have the mounting brackets, so I just duck taped them on, it was pretty ghetto. I am glad we did though, on the way home we were able to take a bath through the woods in the dark and avoided all of the pedestrians and traffic, it was tough to see at times, but it was fun. When we finally pulled up to the house, my wife went around back to go unlock the front door. I got the kids out and saw that my daughter was doing the pee dance again, just as my wife opened the door and started rushing my daughter to the bathroom, my daughter started peeing again, all over the floor. Ugh, it was awful. Fortunately we got her cleaned up and put into bed. Crazy. All in all we had a really good time and made some fun memories, but we were dead tired.

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I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills: The U.S. Role in Iraq

I firmly believe that what we are doing in Iraq is now essential to the future stability of the Middle-East and to U.S. credibility world-wide. I can go on and on about stability, economic development, political agreements, and national interests in the region to justify why we must be successful in Iraq. But none of these are as important as the humanitarian aspect at the local levels of Iraqi society. While I may be considered to be a cold-hearted and greedy conservative, the truth is, is that I genuinely care about the plight of others and want all people to be safe and taken care of. Now, especially in the U.S., I usually put that responisbility in the hands of that individual, I am all about self-reliance. However, I also have a huge soft spot for the neediest among us in the world, especially those who are indiscriminantly raped, killed, exploited, or simply cannot defend themselves. We Americans as “The World’s Light and Hope” should do more in the Sudan and should have done more in Rwanda and Somalia and in many other areas around the world. I understand that none of those places have any sort of national interest for us and that our resources are limited and thus, our efforts need to be prioritized, but there is always something more we can do. The situation in Iraq is much the same, except there are huge national interests there.

I write all of this because I just finished reading Michael Yon’s piece called Bless the Beasts and Children and I realized how seemingly insignificant much of what I write on here is. This article is a must read for every American. We need to see the horror that terrorist and insurgent groups in Iraq are performing against the Iraqi people. Groups like Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) are massacring entire towns and indiscriminately bombing average Iraqi people, regardless of their religious beliefs or political affiliation. I will not attempt to cover it as well as Michael Yon, I hope you all take 10 minutes today to read that piece. If our only mission over there was to protect the Iraqi people it would be a noble and worthwhile mission. Fortunately, we are trying to improve so much more and thus, I am more convinced than ever that our continued presence in Iraq is essential.

Some will come back and argue that the reason those things are happening is because we are there and if we leave they will end. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Certainly these terrible things would not be occurring at the hands of AQI if Saddam were in power, but he was doing much the same anyway. The difference is, is that there is a means to now publicize these things as opposed to when Saddam was in power. The fact is, if we leave too soon Iraq will become another Somalia. Where tribal radicals will continue to kill indiscriminately without fear of reprisal. We Americans are such worry warts and we get riled so quickly by “every wind of doctrine (or political propaganda)” that we fail to ever see the big picture. Do not any of you realize how impressive it is that only about 3,300 American soldiers have been killed in a war that has already lasted 4 years? It is incredible and says a ton about the quality of the US Soldiers, Airmen, Seamen, and Marines. This number of deaths was not uncommon in a day or a week in Vietnam and that was just 30-40 years ago. Certainly every American killed over there is a tragedy and should be mourned, but we should praise their sacrifice and our military for limiting such deaths.

When I think about Iraq, regardless of the reason for being there which is really inconsequential now, I often feel like Mugatu from Zoolander when, referring to all of Derrek’s looks being the same thing, he says, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.” I just don’t get why the American people are so blind, ok I do get it, but it is so frustrating and stupid; I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

Anyway, I would rather all of you spend 10 minutes reading Michael Yon’s post and go to his site everyday, than I would have you on mine. As much as I want this site to blossom and succeed, his blog is far more important and I wish everyone would get the word out about it.

~Swint

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Is Today the Real Independence Day?

I recently finished reading the book John Adams by David McCullogh, therein it is mentioned that it was actually July 2nd in which the Declaration of Independence was accepted and signed. In fact July 4th was the day it was “officially” released, but very few representatives actually attended congress that day; it was virtually a day off. This is what John Adams had to say in his journal about July 2nd:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.

By the way, I am not writing this to disparage July 4th, I just think that this was an interesting bit of history. Besides the fact that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same July 4th would not have the same impact if independence day were July 2nd.

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Filed under 4th of July, American History, Congress, Conservative, Democrats, Election 2008, Fred Thompson, History, Independence Day, Iraq, Liberal, Liberalism, Military, Politics, Republicans