O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

Time out. Let's take a day off on Thursday to set aside all of the political partisanship and to turn down the volume on the grim news cycle. It is time to celebrate everything that is right about our great nation.

If anyone has reason to celebrate it is those of us fortunate enough to live in the shadow of those majestic mountains. Most of the time we spend admiring their grandeur but, admittedly, we also spend a lot of time arguing about how they should be managed.

Over the last two weeks our attention may have been focused more on who owns what along the Wasatch Range, but, truth be told, regardless of the name on the deed, we all have a vested interest in ensuring the land is well cared for.

Beyond offering opportunities for recreation, the mountains and valleys of Summit County serve as watershed, pastureland and mineral resource bank. We have an embarrassment of riches. The test is how well we use them and what we leave to the future.

Independence Day is also a good time to pay tribute to our democratic system that so many other nations admire. Despite its messy, chaotic outward appearance, our democracy continues to serve us well thanks in large part to the citizens who actively participate.

These days, in particular, public servants bear the brunt of our dissatisfaction with the economy, with dissent, with everything, including the weather. They are rarely lauded for their day-to-day service, for the long tedious meetings and contentious public hearings.

So over this holiday weekend, seek out a town council member or a county leader. Thank them for their effort and then look up at the skyline and hum a few bars. You know the words, and if you live in Summit County you know exactly what they mean.

Happy Fourth of July!