Saturday, July 4, 2020

July 4th - Now and Then

Childe Hassam

This year we're observing a different sort of Independence Day than the one I've written about below.

One that has many of us sheltering while trying to stay healthy during this coronavirus pandemic.

Sadly, because so many, including the so called "leaders" of this country have failed quite miserably in protecting its citizens during this global pandemic, we are not even close to where we could be in terms of flattening the curve and coming to the other side.

And, sadly, because even though wearing masks is a proven way of protection, that has become a political issue of great divide.  A dumb divide.

A statement I've read and completely agree with - "Wearing a mask in public is more of an IQ test . . . "

So.  How many of us plan on "celebrating" the 4th of July at home this year.

We have, in years past, gone into town, had brunch at Melanie's and watched the Boone 4th of July Parade.

Not this year.

Borrowing words from political historian Heather Cox Richardson -

And on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky little problem of black and Indian slavery by defining "men" as "white men," and for all that it never crossed their mind that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators on the edge of a wilderness continent declared that no man was born better than any other.
America was founded on the radical idea that all men are created equal.
What the founders declared self-evident was not so clear eighty-seven years later, when southern white men went to war to reshape America into a nation in which African Americans, Indians, Chinese, and Irish were locked into a lower status than whites. In that era, equality had become a "proposition," rather than "self-evident." "Four score and seven years ago," Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, "our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
It did, of course. The Confederate rebellion failed. The United States endured, and Americans began to expand the idea that all men are created equal to include men of color, and eventually to include women.
But just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few wealthy men seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.
The men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 pledged their "Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor" to defend the idea of human equality. Ever since then, Americans have sacrificed their own fortunes, honor, and even their lives, for that principle. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans of those sacrifices when he urged the people of his era to "take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Words to live by in 2020.
Happy Independence Day, everyone.

And borrowing more words from Steve Schmidt, Republican Public Affairs Strategist - 
"His Presidency is ending soon. He stands as a colossus of malfeasance, incompetence, ineptitude, delusion and malice. The worst President in American history will be his eternal Epithet. His name will be a synonym for failure and toxic stupidity. His incompetence is lethal."

Wayne Thiebaud


I'll serve up some bbq for us, but in other ways, today will just be another day in the  (once)United States of America during a global pandemic with a divisive "leader."

Here's to next year, may it be better.

Kinda like what it was a few years ago when I  posted this Fourth of July piece - - -


(Originally posted at Jungle Red Writers several years ago)

I was raised in a small town, but then ended up in the big city of Atlanta for 30 + years.

We moved to Boone in 1997, and I must say - I was happy to be back in a small town.  And still am.

I am most definitely, at heart, a small town girl.

And one of the things that brings all this home to me, in case life in general causes me to forget, is the 4th of July.

Come enjoy a very special parade and a few street scenes from the small town in the North Carolina mountains Donald and I call home.

First of all, you should understand that it's virtually impossible for me to go into town for any reason and not have breakfast at my favorite restaurant, Melanie's Food Fantasy.

This is Melanie.  She has owned this
Boone landmark since before we moved here.
Melanie rocks.

And so does everything on her menu - especially the Eggs Benedict

A perfect day for a parade!

A parade for everyone.  

Old trucks and cool old cars.
Kids riding bikes & littler kids being pulled in little cars by their dads.
WWII vets getting loud cheers and whistles.
Local Democrats playing kazoos on a float.
A friend dressed as a watermelon.
Fire trucks and a drill team.
Smokey the Bear and tractors and horses.
Dogs, dogs dressed as Uncle Sam, the "real" Uncle Sam.
A lot of flags
and a lot of smiling faces.

There's a lot of political stuff I'm pretty mad about right now, but a small town 4th of July parade still brings up a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

It's been a great day.

But . . .

The 4th isn't over until that big firework finale - 


Lesa said...

So sad, actually, Kaye. Your earlier 4th made me tear up, seeing the WWII vets. I wonder how many are still alive today. Those pictures of the small town parade are beautiful. Sending lots of love.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Oh, Lesa. I know. This year and the state we're in is nothing any of us could have prepared ourselves for. Sad. Frightening. And so much anger.

And those Boone 4th of July parade pictures? I love them so much. Small town living suits Donald and I to a "T" and this parade just encapsulates all that a small town is, I think.

Sending lots of love right back your way, sister-friend.