It’s the Fourth of July, 2016: What Will You Celebrate?

New York, N.Y. I got up early Sunday morning, hours before the full horror of the murders at Pulse, Orlando’s lively gay nightclub, were known. For the rest of the morning, it was like an ugly storm that would not let up.


Ironically, this was a day I set aside to write about Fourth of July, Independence Day, fireworks planned for Roosevelt Island, yet here I was miserably distracted by contemporary fireworks that continue to upset our nation in its 240th year.

When I was a kid, my dad drove us to the county fairgrounds in Montrose, Pennsylvania, and allowed my brothers, sister and me to sit on the roof of his car while fireworks lit up the night sky.

That was a different America, the comfortable one where we felt safe before the 1960s political assassinations, struggles for civil rights, disillusion of the undeclared Vietnam War and criminal corruption in the Nixon era.

None of these things were possible in the Ozzie and Harriet America where watching fireworks from the roof of a car was the delight of the summer. Or so we imagined.

I have never been able to fully let go of that ideal America, even as it becomes more clear that it wasn’t what it appeared to be. 

Tempted at times to discard that comfortable vision, I haven’t followed the impulse because the America I thought I knew then harbors an important message: we know what American greatness looks like.

The America we can build has its template.

— Continue on The Roosevelt Island Daily

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I am a career writer with numerous online and hard copy article on many subjects. Currently, I am the founding editor and publisher of the Roosevelt Island Daily and a contributor to the Stewardship Report, among others.

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