On the Fourth of July, there's no finer place to celebrate than on the Marshfield city square.
I say this with some authority. I’ve spent past Independence Day holidays in a variety of places — tiny villages, major cities, even Mount Rushmore, with its costumed presidents and massive fireworks display.
The Fourth of July is pretty good, no matter where you are. The holiday commemorates an awesome world event: the declared independence of a beleaguered and exploited colony from its royal oppressors to become the most powerful and wealthiest nation on Earth.
Let’s not forget, however, that ahead of our wealth and power, our greatest commodity is freedom. No matter what party, religion or background we claim, we show up to the parade as Americans of every stripe.
It's sort of a cliche that when we go to Thanksgiving dinner, we're forced to deal with relatives whose views may be objectionable to us. It can be a struggle to maintain the peace as an uncle or a cousin who espouses beliefs we may find repugnant. And maybe, unbeknownst to us, we are that uncle or cousin, and we don’t even suspect it. I think the first thing to go in our fractured national moment was our sense of discernment and our habit of self-study. Or maybe it was our willingness to keep mum and hold the peace with the people we love and respect. Maybe, even, it was the respect. I think the love is still there. I’m banking on it, as the 2020 election approaches.
Strangely, July 4, though a patriotic holiday, offers fewer instances of discord than the dinner-table holidays, perhaps because we have more room to spread out. We all know where we stand. We are wary of one another. We fear that our country is broken, and we may have trouble patching it back together when the smoke clears.
But July 4 is a day for us to honor strong opinions, as well as the willingness to stand up for them. It’s also a day that reminds us that when the stakes are high, we come together. City people, country people, Dems or GOP, regardless of religion, ethnicity or way of life — our birthright is one of people, arm and arm, standing together in unity.
On Thursday, a lot of good Americans got together and stood quietly on the Marshfield square as the flag passed by. Everyone was hot. Everyone felt patriotic. And I’m pretty sure everyone had an incredible time.
For one beautiful summer day, God shed his grace on Marshfield — and crowned its good with brother- (and sister-) hood, right here, and from sea to shining sea.