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I love this time of year! The weather is warmer, the kids are out of school, and everywhere we go we see messages, decor, food, and fireworks celebrating our country. The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays to decorate and celebrate. I love remembering the values our country stands for, the freedoms we enjoy, and the men and women who served and fought to protect those values and freedoms. Both of my grandfathers served in the Marine Corp and my brother has followed their footsteps and now serves in the Army. I also have three uncles who served in various branches of the military and know many others who have or are currently serving. This year, I felt it was important to do something to honor Veterans and Military Families in our neighborhood by holding a Neighborhood Fireworks Show and giving the heroes and their families a gift to remember the gratitude, love, and support they have behind them. To add to the festivities, I served the military-themed Coca-Cola™ cans from Dollar General that celebrate our military heroes and their families.
I discovered recently that we have a couple of families with parents serving overseas in our neighborhood. We also have several Veterans, some older, some younger, who have not often shared about their military experience. I’ve known some of them for many years, and never knew they had served until I decided to throw this party!
In our neighborhood, we do enjoy getting together once or twice a year for activities with our families. I have really enjoyed getting to know my neighbors and see our kids playing together. After loading up on fireworks this year, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with as many families as possible and throw our own Neighborhood Fireworks Show! It was important to keep it simple by focusing on building relationships with each other. But then I remembered the military families and decided it was be so fun to make the party about them! A way to show our gratitude as a neighborhood. I also invited family and friends because I definitely wanted to honor my brother and grandpas.
Here’s how I planned our Fireworks show.
- I created a flyer invitation and took it around to our neighbors. We also have a Facebook group and I created an event on the page.
- I did some research through talking with friends and neighbors and found out who our military families and veterans were. I contacted them and asked for pictures.
- The set up was simple-I had a large table in our yard set up with decorations and food. I had asked people to bring their own treats and then offered a couple of my own snacks to the table.
- I used pictures of the military families and veterans as table decor to add some personalization.
- We had banners for each family that we personalized by asking people to sign with messages of gratitude and hope (tutorial for this is below).
The best part of the table set up were the cans of Coca-Cola for the military that I reserved just for them! All it took was a trip to Dollar General to make them feel special. Dollar General has teamed up with Coca-Cola for something special-“Share an ice cold Coke with Military Heroes!”. These special military-themed cans of Coca-Cola are only available at Dollar General. When you visit their stores, they have ideas for ways you can support the USO, as well as send thank you and supportive messages to service members!
The cans are marked with “Military Dad”, “Military Mom”, “Veteran”, and “Service Member”. It’s a special way to honor and thank them for all that they have done and do for our country!
At the end of the night, after a fabulous fireworks show, we presented the Rag Tie Message Banners to each family. Now, the families can display the patriotic banners every year and read messages of gratitude and support from their friends, family, and neighbors.
The Rag Tie Banner couldn’t be easier to make! Some of my girlfriends and I made several of them together in a fun little Girls Night. Here’s what you need:
8-10 Patterned Fabrics or Ribbon, cut into 1.5″ and 1″ strips (mine were 11 inches long folded)
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
First, cut your fabric into strips. Mine were cut into 1.5″ and 1″ inches wide and 11 inches long when folded (or 22 inches long not folded in half). Be sure to vary your patterns so you don’t have the same main colors next to each other.
Next, figure out the pattern of your fabrics and ribbons. I went back and forth between the two widths and tried to have some variety in the pattern.
Grab your twine and cut the length to fit what you need. Now it’s time to tie!
If you’d like to personalize it as we did, put some fabric markers out with the banner and ask people to sign it. I had some lighter colored fabric that I used in the banner specifically for writing the messages.
You can send a message to a military hero too. Send a free message through this website, it only takes a minute but will make someone’s day!
You can find the special military-themed Coca-Cola cans at any Dollar General. They have a display that makes it really easy to find them!