I pledge my allegiance to the grand old flag

The 4th of July is a pretty significant event at the Ray household. Since I can remember, we have my Dad’s family over for the 4th. For some reason, we’ve been hyping this particular holiday since Christmas. Maybe it’s because the renovation of my parents’ house is finally finished. Maybe it’s because it gives my Dad and uncle Steve a chance to mow any grass that even thought about growing in our 15 acres. Or maybe it’s just the little kid in all of us who gets excited about food, fun and fireworks. Take your pick.

It was a 4th of July celebration I will never forget…”The Summer of Miracles in 08″ as it will be infamously known from here on out. July 4th was a blast. I was in such a good mood. And it had very little to do with the banana daiquiri I was sipping as I bobbed on a noodle in the middle of the deep end of the pool. Sure the XM radio was blaring rockin’ tunes from the 60s/80s (battle of the generation gap) and the sun was warming my skin, but that’s not why I was so happy:

1. My uncle Steve actually got IN the swimming pool. He never does this.
2. I convince my Mom to jump off the diving board. Wow. Peer pressure really does work.
3. I did about five back flips off the diving board.

Please know that I didn’t just walk up to the diving board and bust out a back flip. I had to mentally prepare myself for the task. I’ve always loved the water and have done tricks off the diving board since I was young. As I bobbed and sipped my beverage of choice, I wondered if I still had it in me, and convinced myself that if I didn’t execute at least one back flip, I would officially be in the shady age of not really young, yet not really old.

Clearly, this was unacceptable.

I run the thought by my Mom and cousin Stephanie.

Lincee: “I think I’m going to do a back flip off of the diving board.”
Mom: “You can’t do that any more.”
Steph: “You’ll hurt yourself.”

Lincee: “No really. I’m serious.”
Mom: “Don’t you dare. You are not in high school!”
Steph: “You’ll hit your head.”

Bursting with confidence from this endearing pep talk, I dismount my noodle and swim over to the ladder in the deep end. Remembering back when I was a whipper snapper, I recalled that I used to warm-up on the ladder doing back dives before attempting the diving board. I scramble up the ladder, take a few deep breathes and fling myself backwards.


I pop up out of the water, expecting to hear shouts of congratulations and glee!


Mom and Steph weren’t even watching.

This time, I step onto the side of the pool and fling myself again in another perfect back dive. I pop up. And again…nothing.

Time for some serious action. I hoist myself out of the pool, making a big production that I AM ABOUT TO BACK FLIP OFF OF THE DIVING BOARD!

Steph: “If you jump, I’m not watching.”
Dad: “DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!”

I make my way around the pool and step on to the old creaky diving board that no one has used in 15 years. I march down to the end, turn around and go for broke without thinking.

Golden again.

This time when I pop up out of the water, I am greeted with applause, cheers and shouts for me to DO IT AGAIN!

Which I obliged. About four more times. Then my head started hurting and I felt like I was going to throw up. I blame the rum.

But the moral of the story is that I did it. I was the cool kid. Everyone wanted to be me.

That night, we all sat on the veranda (my Dad refuses to call it a back porch) and enjoyed fireworks from other houses in surrounding neighborhoods. I plugged in my iPOD and we listened to patriotic music as we watched the show. It might have been in the middle of Neil Diamond’s “America” or the “American Trilogy” by Elvis when I became emotional.

I love my country and feel I am a patriotic person. I’m one of those people who cries at the National Anthem and the American Homecoming with Bill and Gloria Gaither. As we were clapping during fireworks and singing “God Bless the USA,” I became overwhelmed at the fact that we have men and women fighting for our freedom…right now…this minute. Whether you support troops being overseas or not, the fact of the matter is that they are there. I’m not only thankful to be an American…I am blessed.

I received an email from a friend with a call to action in which I plan on participating. She is collecting various products to send to the troops. You can check out her blog for more information if you are interested in helping out: http://www.theflipsideofthepillow.blogspot.com

Whether you join us in our efforts, or reach out to them on your own, here’s praying are troops are safe and return home soon.

“I pledge my allegiance to the grand old flag
And the promise of the hope from sea to sea.
Under God one nation, undivided we will stand
Lift the banner of liberty.”

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
July 7, 2008 11:16 am

Lies! Where is the pics then twinkle-toes? For that matter, where is the ABOUT ME section? Huh? Huh? Dad yelling “Do it!” was priceless though.

July 7, 2008 11:25 am

i love bill and gloria gaither…. much to the dismay of all of my friends who think i am ridiculous. i can’t help it – i watch all the specials they air on tv and often look up the gaither vocal band on youtube to hear Davis Phelps sing tenor. *le sigh* glad you had a good 4th. 🙂

Your sis
Your sis
July 7, 2008 11:30 am

Yeah…and note that she DID NOT do the back flip when I was in attendance…I’m just sayin’…however, she did manage to bully me into some hard-core water ballet/gymnastics with taunting comments like, “bet you can’t still do this,” and the like.

Some Guy
Some Guy
July 7, 2008 11:39 am

I felt like a freak all this time, but I do also get a little lump in my throat sometimes during the “National Fight Song.” It also REALLY bugs me when the performer takes that as the opportunity to riff all over the place during the National Anthem.

July 7, 2008 12:34 pm

I am glad it isn’t just me, I always tear up during the National Anthem. I found myself tearing up when they were playing God Bless the USA at the fireworks show I attended.

Thanks for the link to give to the troops!

July 7, 2008 12:54 pm

Some Guy-I totally agree….note to stars: we are not asking for YOUR rendetion of the National Anthem…we just want to hear OUR national anthem sung in your voice so that someone drowns out the lady 4 rows back who thinks she is on key!

Lincee, I can just see you doing underwater handstands or underwater tea parties…kudos for landing the back flips…too bad you just missed the olympic trials. we’ll have to wait another 4 years!

July 7, 2008 1:25 pm

Lincee, as a mom of one of the soldiers serving in Iraq right now, I want to thank you for remembering them in your blog. Thank you!!

July 7, 2008 1:47 pm

I got chills reading your recap. I too get choked up during the National Anthem & other patriotic songs. Sounds like you have a fun family! Thanks for remembering the troops & everyone who has served our country. Their sacrifices can be taken for granted in this politically correct day & age.

July 7, 2008 2:21 pm

I love reading this blog… I started reading it for the Bachelor/Bachelorette recaps and have found myself addicted to it. I was pleased to read that I’m not the only person who gets all choked up during the National Anthem. I also get teary-eyed when I hear ‘Come Home Soon’ by SheDaisy… which just happend to start playing on my yahoo! radio when I was reading this blog. Freaky coincidence?? The song, if you don’t know, is about a family missing their soldier. I have friends who have and are fighting in Iraq and that song, as well as the… Read more »

July 7, 2008 2:48 pm

I knew there was a reason I was drawn to you and this blog (other than the bachelor). My family and husband always make fun of me for my love of “water tricks”. Now the real question. Underwater somersaults? How many at your best? I think I hit 7 once.

July 7, 2008 2:49 pm

I can’t make it thru “The Stars & Stripes Forever” without choking up – especially during the piccolo part. Same with “Battle Hymm of the Republic”. And I watch the Gaither Classic Gospel Hour on public tv – I am ALL ABOUT David Phelps – his voice is AMAZING (to use an overused Bachelorette word)! And I get flak for watching it, but more so that I watch Lawrence Welk too.


July 7, 2008 4:05 pm

AMEN! I too get emotional listening to our National Anthem, and America the Beautiful, which it truly was this weekend in Vail, Colorado where the entire town celebrated with a parade and tribute to the troops. I am glad to know that Independence Day is not just BBQs and fireworks to everyone and I hope that all Americans can remember that it truly is a privelege to be a citizen of this great country! Thank you for bringing this to the attention of the thousands who read your blog, Lincee.

July 7, 2008 9:18 pm

Okay I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now for the Bach recaps, and now I’m coming out of lurking! I’m so glad to hear of others who still believe in our country and the people who sacrifice everyday to keep it strong! Not the celebrities, not the politicians, not the haters – but the hardworking people who work everyday to make this nation great. What your friend is doing is fantastic – thank you so much for sharing.

July 7, 2008 9:56 pm

Hi Lincee. I knew it would be Jesse. Didn’t he look so cute tonight? The PDA was a little much but it was sweet.

Would love your thoughts! Click here to share.x