I was raised in an Army family so July 4th was always a day to show pride in our country. Patriotic music was played and the American flag was flown. Late in the day, a big fireworks display took place at one of the lakes on the base as patriotic music played in the background. Later still, after we got home, we ran around the block with sparklers. As an adult, I’ve continued to feel pride for my country and always tried to teach my children to be good citizens who were proud of America.
One year when my kids were young, I wanted to do something special to mark the 4th of July. We were planning to go out of town but the plan didn’t come together. I decided to make a cake and decorate it like the American flag. While my girls were playing in the sprinkler, I baked the cake. After it cooled, we tinted some of the icing blue and some red. Using a small flag as a model, we marked off the blue field and the stripes with toothpicks.
Then we started by spreading the white frosting to be the white stripes of the flag. Next came the red stripes and finally the blue field of the flag was spread. We tried and failed at using a knife to apply the stars. We also tried using a frosting bag to tube on the stars but the stars were still too big. Finally, we decided to try using just a tiny bit of frosting on a toothpick and that worked great.
The girls were so proud of that American flag cake. We invited our friends over to celebrate with us and had a great time. Since that year, we’ve made our flag cake every year to celebrate the 4th of July. About 10 years after we made our first flag cake, we were visiting my parents for July 4th. We went out to the Salute to the States celebration on base. Flags from each state were flown and the date of each state’s admission to the Union was announced. Each state was saluted with gunfire and cannon blasts.
We had a cookout for dinner with my parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews after the ceremony and finished the meal with our flag cake. After dinner, we went out to the lake for the fireworks show. One of my sisters was playing in the band and we all enjoyed the patriotic music and the fireworks. After the fireworks were over, we went over to my sister’s house and the kids all ran around the block with sparklers.
Watching my kids celebrate July 4th the same way we had as kids was very special to me and so was sharing our special flag cake with my family. Every year, I know we’ll celebrate July 4th with whoever can be together that day. Sometimes we set off small fireworks in the driveway, sometimes we go to the July 4th parade in a nearby town, sometimes we go to see the local fireworks show, but we always make our special July 4th American flag cake to enjoy together.