Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day 2020

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July my friends.  I hope today is a safe and great day for you all.  For many of us we aren't celebrating it in a way we remember.  Today is a traditional day in America for many of us.  Whether we are rooted in the American history, the celebrations of our countries independence, attending fireworks shows or simply enjoying a family gathering this is the day that America celebrates her independence, our ability to do all the aforementioned things, because at her heart, in America, we are all free.

In the year 2020, we are not as free as we once believed.  We've all seen the effects of the global pandemic, many of us losing friends or loved ones as it's ravaged the world.  States were locked down, so to speak.  For months we were struggling with the new realities.  Gyms closed, movie theatres closed, bars and restaurants were closed and the hours and operations of essential businesses were changed, some for the foreseeable futures.  

Many people found themselves faced with loss of income, loss of routine and I'd dare say the loss of purpose as the global economy came to a near complete halt.  While governments and leadership still struggles to cope with the aftermath of the pandemic, people struggle to reassemble their lives and find their way in the new world.  For it is a new world, ladies and gentlemen, whether we like it or not.  

Just as things started to move forward and the numbers of new infections go down, a cop in Minneapolis and four of his cohorts brought about the downfall of American civilization as we know it.  In the midst of an infection plaguing the globe, an economic nightmare still affecting the country and an uncertain future, anger and violence began filling the streets of our country as the worst days in America played out on our televisions, in our papers, on social media and right before our eyes in some cases.

 What the fourth of July should mean is the same thing that America, the Statue of Liberty and even Mt. Rushmore should mean.  They're symbols, symbolic reminders of what we were, what we are today and what we can be.  Many people won't try to believe that but, remember when you were young, still had ideals and dreams.  Things like fear of a pandemic hadn't frightened you.  Things like the color of someone's skin didn't matter to you.  Your friends were your friends, you sat by your neighbors and complete strangers and you all watched the fireworks, all sang or listened to the National Anthem and you all felt like a community.  Albeit, for some, it's only during the times of celebration and gatherings that you feel this way.  Then life returns to what it was, until the next year.

For me, the fourth of July is a historic date.  It's not only a date signifying the freedom of our land.  It's not just a day to remember the ones that gave for our freedoms; our freedoms to disagree, to revolt, to speak out against the slights of government or those small group of men who did wrong.  Today, I remember the good times and the thought of what we could be as a people in a country that stands for what's right, no matter how many times it misses the mark.  Today, I remember that  in my life I've I was raised to respect everybody, no matter the differences between us.  Today I remember that one of those people responsible was my dad, who was born on the fourth of July.  

Happy Birthday Dad, it's been ten years and I still think about you everyday.

By: J.M.

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