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JULY4    5'2m?f Puppets celebrate the first Independence Day

(Red, white and blue bunting drapes the front and rear curtains 
of the stage. One by one, clusters of three balloons - red, 
white and blue helium balloons - are untethered and released to 
full view above each corner of the stage. But just before the 
fourth trio of balloons is to be untethered, two air balloons 
pop backstage)

BERT --- (pops up, holding rifle over shoulder, wearing 
three-cornered hat) What was that?!

ERNIE -- (enters) Sorry. Don't be alarmed. It's just the 
balloons for the big celebration.

BERT --- I thought it was the British army attacking. You know, 
as soon as the British find out about us declaring our 
independence, they're going to attack us.

ERNIE -- I know. But today, July fourth, 1776, is the day we 
celebrate the birth of a new nation. The thirteen separate 
American colonies are joining forces to form the United States 
of America! (salutes)

BERT --- Yeah, well, just keep the noise down, will you? I get 
nervous when I hear anything that sounds like gun fire.

ERNIE -- Sure. You stand guard, while I go get ready for the 
celebration. (exit)

BERT --- (paces)

(two more air balloons pop)

BERT -- (whirls around) What was that?

ERNIE -- (enters) Sorry, nothing seems to be going right today.

BERT --- Oh, you again.

ERNIE -- Yes. Balloons are popping, the children's choir hasn't 
arrived yet and we still haven't received the big sign with our 
National motto on it.

BERT --- National motto?

ERNIE -- Yes, you know, a slogan that says what we stand for, 
what we as a nation have in common.

BERT --- Oh, a motto.

ERNIE -- Yeah.

BERT --- You mean, like "we do chicken right" or "you deserve a 
break today", stuff like that.

ERNIE -- Yes, but a national motto tells people how we're 
different from other nations.

BERT --- You mean, like freedom and bravery, stuff like that.

ERNIE -- That's right. Unfortunately, we're almost ready to 
celebrate our independence and we don't have our national motto 
to show the people.

BERT --- Maybe you could just make one up.

ERNIE -- Oh, no! A national motto is much too important for one 
person to decide alone. The whole continental Congress has to 
decide it. (looks both ways) I sure hope they get our motto here 
before the celebration begins. 

BERT --- Me too, I guess.

ERNIE -- Well, excuse me. I have to finish decorating. (exits)

BERT --- Keep the noise down, will you? 

ERNIE -- (from off stage) Oh, sure.

(fourth trio of balloons is untethered)

ERNIE -- (enters, admires his work) There, how's that?

BERT --- Looks nice. Oh, by the way, while you were blowing up 
the balloons, somebody delivered a big sign.

ERNIE -- The national motto arrived!? Where?!

BERT --- (looks down) Down there. 

ERNIE -- Oh, good. (exits down)

(a sign with "In God We Trust", attached by strings to the front 
corners of the stage is flipped over the front lip of the stage 
for audience to see)

ERNIE -- (enters, looks over edge of stage at sign) There, how's 
that?

BERT --- (looks over edge of the stage) "In God We Trust". 
That's it?

ERNIE -- Yeah, that our new national motto.

BERT --- Aren't you afraid of offending someone?

ERNIE -- Who would we offend? This is a Christian nation.  Ben 
Franklin is the only member of the Continental Congress who 
is not a Christian. But even he believes in God.

BERT --- He does? Oh.

ERNIE -- Anyone who ever saw a bird in flight or a baby being 
born would be a fool not to believe in God, don't you think?

BERT --- Yes, I guess you're right. But that doesn't mean we 
should put God's name in our national motto.

ERNIE -- Being a Christian nation, we learned from the nation of 
Israel in the Bible that when a nation puts their faith in God, 
they win all their battles. Wouldn't we as a nation be foolish 
to put our trust in anything else?

BERT --- I guess you're right.

ERNIE -- Well, now we're all ready for our very first 
Independence Day celebration... Except of one thing.

BERT --- What's that?

ERNIE -- We were supposed to have a children's choir sing a 
song. But...

BERT --- Well, there's some children out there in the audience. 
Maybe they can sing the song.

ERNIE -- (to audience) What do you say kids? Would you help us 
sing a song celebrating the birth of our nation?

(audience responds)

BERT --- I have an even better idea.

ERNIE -- What's that?

BERT --- The birth of a nation is way too important to have just 
children sing about it. Let's have everybody in the audience 
stand a sing along.

ERNIE -- Good idea. Come on, everybody, stand up and sing along!

(music cue: "God Bless America")

(Words to the song are flashed on screen(s) or written on tag 
board, all available puppets enter and sing along)

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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Pay no royalties, even if you make money from performances.
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