On July Fourth, the nation celebrates the American rebellion against British colonialism, as the Declaration of Independence announced to the world the beginning of a new nation.
It’s important to reflect on how that document’s fundamental ideals have shaped our freedoms and our way of life, even as we celebrate the beginning of summer.
School’s out, and our lives move outdoors. The beaches lure us with sounds and sun. NYC’s 53 outdoor public pools are open until September — including more of the impressively jazzed-up “cool pools,” which are gems.
Our July Fourth celebration will be marked with spectacular fireworks. For your safety as well as that of others, don’t terrorize children and animals with loud, personal firecrackers. Fireworks were involved in around 12,900 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in 2017, 1,200 of them for sparklers. Be careful.
Besides, the day isn’t about the explosions — or tanks. What we like best about this communally celebrated holiday is its democracy. You don’t really need perfect seats to see skyrockets light up the sky. Mutual camaraderie can be born while flipping burgers next to a neighbor. Sharing is encouraged and all should be welcome.
Which brings us back to our point about July Fourth: The self-evident truths. The forging of the nation. Life and liberty. The long but achievable road to equality for all people.
All of the hopeful and proud things about America, the flag-waving, the stars-and-stripes decorations, become a welcome background for good reason. They buttress everything else we hold dear: the way we interact with each other, the way we seek redress when things go wrong, the best version of ourselves that we try to project to the world. Those elements were present even from the very beginning.
So we return to those aspects again and again, as Thomas Jefferson wrote about the holiday: “for ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”