As Americans, most of us have memories and traditions surrounding the July 4th holiday. For some of us it is the recollection of weekends spent with family, enjoying backyards and barbecues. For others we remember the oohhs and aahhs of childhood, watching fireworks and parades. For the patriotic bunch, the holiday is a time for flag waving and truly celebrating our history as Americans, remembering the founding and independence of our country.
In the movie Forrest Gump, there is a memorable scene that occurs on the Fourth of July; one that is powerful and has dramatic implications for both Forrest & Jenny.
Do you remember the scene? the events?
The time period is after Jenny’s return from her hippie gallivanting and after Forrest is semi-retired from the shrimpin’ business. The scene begins with the two seated outdoors on a large rock in front of the pond on the Gump Property. As Jenny embraces Forrest, we see fireworks reflected in the water. A camera fade occurs and the fireworks continue in front of the Statue of Liberty as seen on the television in the Gump House living room. The 4th of July is never specifically mentioned but the fireworks are a clear marker.
The holiday mood is a quiet one, adding to the poignant feel of the next moments. Forrest takes a long pull on his Dr. Pepper as Jenny rises from her chair, asks Forrest if he’s done watching, gives him a gentle kiss on the forehead, turns off the TV, and heads off to bed.
Jenny leaves the room and Forrest is left alone for a moment. He suddenly and deliberately puts down his Dr. Pepper and follows Jenny into the staircase hallway. The next moments are the ones that have the profound implications alluded to earlier …
Forrest proposes marriage.
Jenny of course tells Forrest that he doesn’t want to marry her, an indicator of her own guilt and shame over her past and character. Forrest then utters the famous line, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” Scandalous as it may seem, Jenny pays Forrest a visit in his bedroom later that night, assuring him that she does indeed love him. She leaves early the next morning without saying good-bye … they won’t see each other again for 4 or 5 years.
As we learn later in the movie (and several years later), the result of that memorable July 4th Holiday was ultimately Little Forrest. So while it seemed a quiet occasion without the pomp and circumstance, friends and family, cookouts and camping trips that so many of us associate with this weekend in July, theirs was indeed far more memorable and important than most!
I wish you and your family a safe, memorable and fun Fourth of July. Happy Birthday #234 to the United States! I love this country!
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Next Blog Date: July 5, 2010