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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

The year the Fourth of July became a dud

Fireworks on the National Mall in Washington have been a highlight of America's annual celebration.

Fireworks explode over the National Mall in Washington,

Fireworks explode over the National Mall in Washington, DC, as the U.S. Capitol and National Monument are seen on July 4, 2017, in Washington, DC. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/PAUL J. RICHARDS

Quiz: Who said the following about his nation’s most patriotic holiday?

“HOLD THE DATE! . . . Major fireworks displays, entertainment and an address by your favorite President, me!”

a) North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un

b) Comedian Stephen Colbert

c) President Donald Trump

d) All of the above

While any of these answers might seem correct, we know there’s only one American with the nerve to make such an outlandish statement. Who among us would even think of trying to turn the Fourth of July into a partisan event? Correct: President Ego.

Fireworks on the National Mall in Washington are a highlight of America’s annual Fourth of July celebration, a televised event that draws hundreds of thousands from across the political spectrum to celebrate our country’s birthday.

Now Trump wants to turn this into what he calls “A Salute to America,” which sounds a lot like “A Salute to Donald Trump.”

He plans to highlight the event by giving a speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Funny how Presidents Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both Bushes never made themselves the centerpiece of a nonpartisan, feel-good national celebration.

But ever since being dazzled by the Bastille Day celebration in Paris two years ago, Trump has tried to find a way to create a major patriotic event centered around him, including the type of military parade long beloved by totalitarian leaders. Luckily, that embarrassing effort fizzled out.

The Fourth of July is “not about any one president . . . It’s about ‘We, the people,’  ” Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) told The Washington Post.

Nice try, Betty. Not anymore. All hail the Great and Powerful Donald! And if he goes through with this, who knows which other national holiday he will honor with his majestic presence?

Wouldn’t it be great if he participated in the Thanksgiving Day parade? I don’t think so, either, but I wouldn’t put it past him. The best part is, he wouldn’t even have to show up. Picture an orange, overinflated hot-air balloon floating down Central Park West . . .

Follow playwright Mike Vogel at @mikewrite7.

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