America is Alive and Well in Chattanooga, Tennessee!

8 Jul

John Adams would have been proud. The 4th of July celebration here in Chattanooga was everything he envisioned so long ago. But it was more than that to me. It was precisely the experience I needed to remind me that the “real” America is still alive and well. I saw it for myself that night.


Marsha Roberts on the walking bridge in Chattanooga, looking out over Coolidge Park and the Tennessee River.

We had the ideal observation spot on the walking bridge above the river. Beneath us spread a huge expanse of grass which had already begun to fill up. On the far end of the park the stage was set for the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra to play later in the evening. It was a picture perfect afternoon, blue skies with a cool breeze, a rare treat in July here in the South!

But I wasn’t at all prepared for the emotional impact it would have on me as thousands gathered in this beautiful spot by the river. I’m sure there must have been some sort of security, but I didn’t see it. No one searched my bag or our picnic basket. The entire area was open – freedom was in the air. How very American!


Crowds gather for the Pops on the River Independence Day Celebration 2014

As I looked across the sea of people having picnics, throwing Frisbees, laughing, dancing, feeling free and happy, I was moved by a raw sense of patriotism. This is it, I thought. This is why George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and countless others who joined America’s Armed Forces over the past 240 years risked it all: so we could be free. And here, in what is known as the “deep South,” people of every age, shape and color were together, peacefully enjoying life, because we choose to and we’re free to make that choice.


As the sun sets behind Lookout Mountain, boats join the rest of us waiting for the festivities to begin.

I couldn’t help but notice the ease with which everyone moved and savored the evening. Everybody was so relaxed, they obviously felt safe. It suddenly occurred to me how much we had recovered from the fear we went through after 9/11 and I was extremely thankful for that. I wondered how many towns and cities all across the United States were celebrating with parades and bands and fireworks at that exact moment. Honoring the grand IDEA of America.


 This event was actually on July 3rd and, coincidentally, it was on July 3, 1776 that John Adams wrote one of his famous letters to his wife Abigail and said of American independence:

“It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

Well, I’m here to say that Chattanooga did it’s part to continue this magnificent tradition. The symphony moved us to tears with a medley of patriotic songs. Then the fireworks started and a thrilling spectacle rained down on us. It was happening so fast I didn’t want to blink, afraid I might miss another burst of excitement falling from the sky. John Adams’ “Illuminations” were definitely on display.


Yes, there was a special magic in the air that night and for anyone who wanted to feel it, it was certainly there for the taking. We are still a free people in the midst of this grand experiment called America, and it was wonderful to take a few hours off to be reminded of who we really are.


After a few days of reflection I just want to say thank you to the city of Chattanooga for all that you do to keep the spirit of America alive. And God bless America, my home sweet home!

Marsha Roberts

Producer of the touring production “Letters From The Front”

Author, “Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant”    ~


22 Responses to “America is Alive and Well in Chattanooga, Tennessee!”

  1. muriellerites July 9, 2014 at 2:58 am #

    Great post, Marsha !

  2. Gale Stanley July 9, 2014 at 3:56 am #

    Wonderful tribute to Chattanooga!

    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

      Thanks, Gale, I meant every word of it, Chattanooga is a terrific town!

  3. Amber Easton July 9, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    Fabulous article! Loved it! Tweeted and shared. 🙂

    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      Thanks Amber, so glad you enjoyed it & thanks for passing it around! 😉

  4. olganm July 9, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    Fabulous post Marsha! Shared all around! Good luck!

  5. Natasha Johnstone July 9, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    Great blog post about your home town. Wish I lived there!

    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

      HA! Thanks Natasha! Chattanooga is such a surprise. It’s beautifully laid out around the river, with a wonderful art district on the hill. Who knew? I’m glad fate brought us here, that’s for sure!

  6. yellehughes July 9, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    What a beautiful and touching day! We celebrated here in Ohio and I felt the same as you. A bright and sunny day, playing Frisbee, tossing balls with family and friends. A lovely picnic and my mom’s home-cooked food (No McDonalds)
    Our fireworks were “meh” but that’s okay. Being surrounded by the ones you love and respect made up for it.
    Thank you for this post, it brought a warm feeling to my heart 🙂

    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Yelle, confirming what I thought – good things ARE happening all around America. How right you are about focusing on those we love. Have a great day!

  7. knamrah July 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    Absolutely wonderful. We need to be reminded of this time and again!!! Thanks!

    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

      Thank YOU for visiting my blog & leaving such encouragement!

  8. mmurfy68 July 9, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Wow, thanks so much for sharing what clearly was a wonderful day. Your post reminded me, like your novel, that the best is yet to come.

    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

      Oh thanks, Michael! That evening was so very encouraging that I just had to share it. So very glad you enjoyed reading about it!

  9. claudenougat July 9, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    Marsha, you beautifully caught the joy of being American!

    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      The joy of being an American… I like that a lot! It was indeed a joyful event & very encouraging. Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Claude!

  10. dpw1967 July 9, 2014 at 9:39 pm #


    • Mutinous Boomer July 9, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

      Thanks! Chattanooga is an awesome place to be, I must say!

  11. Sarah (S.R.) Mallery August 26, 2014 at 4:06 am #

    Lovely blog…. really enjoyed your event! Best, Sarah

    • Mutinous Boomer August 26, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

      Thanks so much, Sarah. It was one of those memorable evenings you just have to save on paper. Oh, yes, I guess that’s what makes us writers! And you know exactly what I mean!

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