It’s Independence Day weekend in America. Any normal year, this is a time filled with all sorts of joyful and solemn emotions. We are excited to get together with family, to have picnics on a balmy summer day and watch fireworks at night, as well as to ponder to majesty that is America.
But Independence Day 2021 is different. We have just spent the last year locked down due to COVID-19 and many of us are still concerned about the many variants that threaten the world, we still have travel restrictions and many of us have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost homes or just lost our sense of security, or lost belief in our government. Many of us are worried about losing our voting or civil rights. On the west coast, record breaking high temperatures and drought are causing municipalities to cancel fireworks displays and the threat of climate change looms larger in the face of these threats of high temperatures, wild fires, droughts. A condo in south Florida has collapsed and 120 families are waiting with dread while first responders will spend their holiday digging through the collapsed wreckage in search of loved ones. These concerns are wrapped up in this holiday that honors America’s freedom from England.
The 4th of July this year is much more than a holiday. This holiday we struggle with our pains as we honor Americans’ fundamental freedoms as human beings and as a nation.
This holiday also holds up a beacon to the world inspiring other freedom loving people to reach for their own independence, their own freedoms. It is a holiday when marching bands, family, parades and celebrations remind us that this is a country built on the fragile gossamer of democracy. This fragile structure requires a yearly holiday booster shot reminder of the importance of preserving our voting rights, our neighborhoods, our environment, our communities. This fragile democracy is built on the belief in the humanity of each of us; that we the people are created equal, and all join in to form this more perfect union and that we are stronger united than divided. This holiday reminds us that together people can build great countries, that together people can put out fires and dig tirelessly through pulverized concrete in search of hope. This holiday reminds us of our fragile democracy and our strength and our humanity. This holiday reminds us at History Chip, that the stories of each of us are important, that no one of us is more important than the other and that joined together our lives are a beautiful story. We salute the humanity of each of us as we honor this American Independence Day.