I don’t think I’m being all that premature today when I wish you a safe and happy Independence Day holiday, which the calendar says is this Saturday but many including the Federal Government, which is closed and the City of Norwich are observing this Friday.
Actually, The Rose of New England is getting a head start with a literal bang with the traditional Norwich Harbor Fireworks slated for tomorrow night, weather permitting and darkness enhancing, with Friday evening as a rain date.
Hopefully, the weather will cooperate because so many of us have a lot of celebrating planned for this weekend.
But I hope we can find a moment to remember the reason and the struggles which marked the brave beginnings of who we are with the freedoms we enjoy today. Not meaning to sound like a scold (well, maybe a little) there’s a heedless hedonism we sometimes practice when remembering the men and women who paid for our freedoms with their lives that continues to discomfit me.
Nearly thirteen thousand Connecticut residents fought against the British Crown during the Revolutionary War. That's not an insignificant number when you realize the state wasn't that heavily populated. Perhaps at some point in the coming days between laps in the pool, beach runs, oohing and ahhing at fireworks or manning the grill, we could stop into one of the cemeteries that are parts of so many of our neighborhoods across the city. We'll find a final resting place of an original New England Patriot, to devote and dedicate a moment of thought to those whose selflessness has in recent years been replaced by selfishness far too often.
While we’re enjoying the fireworks, we can realize as marvelous as they are, nevertheless, they're a poor approximation of the often deadly barrages an unbroken line of heroes and heroines withstood without flinching so that we can lead the lives we have. We, who cannot be bothered to attend municipal meetings, who always have better things to do than visit our children's schools, who sit silently and sullenly on the sidelines never volunteering anywhere for anything and whose voter participation sets record lows for turn-out. This is who we are now, but not always.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember we were the revolutionaries, the visionaries who set a course for a new nation with values and standards that defined both who and what we are, Americans.
All we need to do is look around: our history and our country’s is on every street corner and public green.
Perhaps a holiday homework assignment?
I hope we’ll have the time on our big holiday weekend. Today, after all, is only Almost Independence Day.
- bill kenny