July 4th means two things to me:
First, the birthdays. My little brother, Rob, was born on July 4th. As such, of course he thought the big picnics and fireworks were for him. Eventually, he realized that it was odd the rest of us didn't receive such large celebrations. Truthfully, it was fun for me to make the day all about Rob. Even though I haven't spent his birthday with him in years, part of me still feels that the festivities are celebrating him.
Not to be forgotten, the 4th is also about boys. Specifically, fireworks are about boys. On one occasion (I think I was 15), I was invited to go see fireworks with the family of a guy that liked me. I liked him too but he was insanely shy. Short version is that I ended up making out with another guy throughout the evening. Looking back, probably this was poor form. But this other guy was someone I had liked forEVER (c'mon, you were 15 once!) and never thought I'd have a chance with so of course I was gonna go there when opportunity knocked!
And most notably, it was just before attending fireworks with Joe that he proposed for the first time. I say "for the first time" because we were so young, so new together, and he had no ring. We decided to be sort of pre-engaged or something and then he proposed for realz a year or so later, ring in hand all proper-like.
I should mention that it's not that I don't value and appreciate the freedoms are traditionally celebrated on this holiday. It's just that a lot of the politics have really disillusioned me. I liken it to organized religion vs. spirituality. I'm all about spirituality but most churches (and the politics there-in) turn me off. I'm all about my freedoms and the people who have served to ensure them - but the politics make it hard to rally behind The Big Day. Also, anything overly manipulative emotionally (*cough*Lee Greenwood*cough*) aggravates me. I'm also a big fan of "nothing wrong with having a special day but there are another 364 days you should remember the feeling as well". So perhaps that's part of why Independence Day isn't overly red, white and blue for me.
Whatever the Fourth of July means to you, I hope you had a good one.