When the sun rises on July 4, 2021, it will be the nation’s proudest day — our Independence Day.

This year it seems even more poignant to celebrate the ideas of freedom, unity, bravery and sacrifice. Politics and a pandemic have pulled and torn at the fabric of this nation. We must work toward mending it or all will be lost.

But there is always hope. The wonderful thing about the sun rising is that it means it’s a brand new day.

It’s a fresh start. We can choose to put our differences aside and work together toward a nation our children and grandchildren can be proud of — our brown children, our black children, our white children, our gay children, our children with disabilities — all children for generations to come. We make that choice today to do better.

‘Broad Stripes and Bright Stars...’

As we gather for parades, for fireworks, for trips to the lake or the beach or the swimming pool, let us remember the principles and the ideals this nation was founded upon.

The liberty and justice you would seek for yourself and those you love must also be sought for every other American. That includes Americans who don’t look like you do, Americans who don’t believe the same things you believe, Americans who don’t vote the way you vote and Americans who don’t worship the way you worship.

Those broad stripes are broad enough to include everyone. And the bright stars shine their light on us all.

‘The bombs bursting in air...’

This Fourth of July please be mindful of your neighbors as you celebrate this glorious day. We want everyone to have fun and for many that includes fireworks and other pyrotechnics. Please remember that your neighbors may have a child or a loved one who might be traumatized by loud noises. Many of our veterans suffer with conditions that might be triggered by the loud bangs of fireworks. Some folks have pets that are terrified of the loud bangs they don’t understand, bangs that continue for hours through the night.

Celebrate but please be considerate of others. This is their holiday too and they deserve to have a wonderful time as well.

‘Our flag was still there...’

Let’s all remember that even through the terrible moments and the dark times our nation has faced, it has endured. Our spirit may be dimmed at times but it cannot be extinguished.

Our flag — one of the symbols of our national identity — still flies proudly all across this great land. That Star-Spangled Banner does indeed yet wave. And will continue to do so.

‘.....O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.’

And as always, we remind readers that our nation’s independence and the subsequent liberties we enjoy today were bought at a great cost. Brave men and women have fought and sacrificed much so that we might enjoy the way of life we do today.

This is also a celebration of them — the people who dared to dream of democracy and freedom and those who worked to make it a reality. If they could see us today and if they could see what our nation has become, would they be proud? Let’s make it so.

Thank you for reading and have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

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