The 4th of July, 2021, is tomorrow as I write this and I am doing the final preparations for the parade that we will have again in Milford this year. Like almost everything else last year, we did not have a parade because of the pandemic. We almost didn’t have the parade again this year, because of continued COVID restrictions on gathering. Those restriction were lifted last month, but not before they had their impact upon this year’s parade, which will be smaller. People had already made alternate plans by the tie we were able to decide to go ahead with the parade.
I cannot place all of the blame for a smaller parade at COVID’s doorstep. The 4th of July parade, like most parades has been shrinking in size for years. Where once we would have 60-70 groups marching in the parade (especially in election years) we are now lucky to have 40+ groups. I think the reason is that as a country we have become more “Me” oriented and less “We” oriented. People don’t seem to have a strong sense of celebrating the “We” of America when they think of the 4th of July. Instead, they think of the “Me” things that they can do with that little time off.
This is a country birthed with a document that begins “We, to people…”, but is has evolved and changed into a country where the individual freedoms that came with that birth seems more important that the collective good of all of the people, and the celebration of that collective good on the 4th of July has been pushed into the background.
Pastor Freed, in his blog Jack’s Winning Words, recently used this quote from Abraham Lincoln, who in the midst of the turmoil of his Presidency, said – “My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.” I believe that, for most who live elsewhere, America is still a beacon of hope and opportunity. That is certainly true of the people making the dangerous and desperate journey to our borders. We don’t see people lining up at the border to get into Russia or China.
So on this 4th of July, take a moment away from your “Me” thinking and consider all of the “We” things that we have to be thankful for – our freedoms, our blessings, our country. And maybe, resolve to become a part of the celebration of the “We” in our country and sign up to be in next year’s 4th of July parade.
I’ll save a spot for you in the Milford parade.