Editorial: We’ll celebrate the Fourth as a fractured country, united community
On Wednesday, a divided nation will celebrate its Independence Day.
In Park City, the festivities will go off as usual. We’ll gather on Main Street for the annual parade, cheering on the floats and marchers festooned in red, white and blue, then spend the afternoon eating, drinking and playing at City Park. A firework display will cap the evening, eliciting oohs and ahs from spectators and illuminating the sky above the mountains.
But for many, the holiday, meant to be a celebration of the birth of our country and the principles the Founding Fathers built it upon, will be tinged with unease. It comes as people of all political persuasions fear the characteristics that make our nation special are being stripped away. The rancor is nearing a fever pitch.
Under these circumstances, the Fourth of July carries a different significance. It’s a powerful reminder that the freedoms we enjoy, and the progress made in the centuries following the fight for independence, from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage to marriage equality, didn’t come without struggle. It took the dedication and bravery of hundreds of thousands of Americans, all willing to do whatever it took to move their country forward.
On Independence Day, especially, their efforts are inspiring. It reminds us that people have the power to enact change. And it reiterates the fact that our country has been bitterly divided before and has always emerged stronger on the other side.
But amid the turmoil, people in Summit County should also use the holiday to reflect on their fortune at living somewhere the vision of the Founding Fathers is alive and well. Our community continues to embody democracy at its best. Local elected officials do what they see as being in the best interest of their constituents. Their constituents, in turn, voice their dissatisfaction when they disagree.
We argue often. We fight hard. We do, on occasion, lose sight of the fact the people we’re squabbling with are our neighbors — but only momentarily.
And that’s OK. Because we are ultimately better for it. We’re able to put aside our differences and live harmoniously, with the understanding that we’re all in this together. And, while the nation around us remains split, we’ll gather Wednesday as a united community.
Some will celebrate this Fourth with trepidation about our state of affairs, but this community’s example, along with the belief that people rising in unison for what is right can heal the division in America, is inspiring. And it’s certainly plenty of reason to declare on Wednesday our continued commitment to the nation we love.
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