Mr. Speaker, the most patriotic time of the year is at hand. I love the Fourth of July. It is picnics, hot dogs, potato salad and barbecue. It is kids decorating wagons with red, white and blue for neighborhood parades and little kids sitting on their dad's shoulders watching the parade. It is horses and cowboys. It is John Phillips Sousa and "The Stars and Stripes Forever." It is waving flags and thanking our troops for their service. It is yellow ribbons tied to trees.

The Fourth of July is a packed freeway and a long weekend. It is going to the beach and getting sand in everything. It is coolers, beach towels, blankets, sunscreen and the salty air.

It is the big fireworks display in the big cities and the small ones in the neighborhood. It is making circles in the air with sparklers. It is bottle rocket wars. It is Black Cat firecrackers and Roman candles. It is buy one, get four free.

It is stump speeches by politicians. It is people dressing up as Tom Jefferson and George Washington. It is snow cones and caramel apples. It is kids, grandkids and pets all packed in the Jeep and going for cotton candy.

Everybody is happy about the Fourth of July. There is nothing sad about freedom. After all, it is happy birthday to our country.

And that's just the way it is.