One thing that always bugged me as a kid was that our cows weren’t very patriotic. Sure, they’d act silly if they ever saw fireworks, but they never saluted the flag, showed interest in our national anthem and certainly never took off work for the Fourth of July. (Come to think of it, they were pretty disrespectful on Christmas, too.)

Growing up, I admit that the Fourth of July was mostly about bottle rockets, boats and beverages. I couldn’t wait to get the cows milked so I could set off fireworks at the lake. Of course, my parents always had to first tell me about the “friend” that lost his finger while setting off firecrackers.

Speaking of losing things, it’s ironic that I lost my “freedom” a few years ago when my wife and I were married on Independence Day. Originally, I thought this was an excuse to celebrate our anniversary with her family in New Mexico. I’ve since realized she also selected this date because she is very patriotic (and to make sure I remember to get a gift).

Over the last few years, I have gained a new respect for Independence Day. Maybe it’s because I now know people risking their lives for our freedom. At a recent ball game, I actually listened to the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I won’t elaborate about that here. I do recommend researching the history of Francis Scott Key’s anthem (along with its little-known second verse) and thinking about the words and the situation in which they were written. It will give you a new perspective for the next time you take off your cap at a sporting event.

So, after we take a few minutes to recognize the meaning and the sacrifices, let’s enjoy the holiday. This year, I’m going to see if I can get my wife to teach those cows some appreciation. PD


Brandon Covey for Progressive Dairyman