Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Almost Independence Day

A cynic, it's said, is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. I've always wondered why this is always said to me, but I learned ago to not ask the question if I cannot stand the answer.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Law, passed in 1968, when we had a lot of people in uniform even without a law, shifted a not inconsequential number of our federal holidays to Monday observances, further institutionalizing a beloved invention, the three day weekend.

At the end of May, we "observed" Memorial Day as par of a three day holiday and some of us are ironing out the details right now to add this Friday to our weekend so tomorrow's Independence Day can kick off a four day weekend.

I can't help but believe The Founders, sweltering in the Philadelphia heat in the summer of 1776, would be impressed by our inventiveness in stringing the days together, though how favorable that impression would be is another matter.

That's the great thing about the freedom we have and too often, nearly unconsciously take for granted, that kind of heedless hedonism is concerned part and parcel of the package of freedoms that men and women have paid with their lives though out our relatively short history so we might blithely never think of their sacrifices.

Nearly thirteen thousand Connecticut residents took up arms against the British Crown during the Revolutionary War. That's not an insignificant number when you remember even then this state wasn't very large in terms of population. 

Perhaps at some point in the coming days, between dips in the pool, beach runs or manning the grill, we could pop into one of the cemeteries that are more a part of the scenery than of our neighborhoods all across the city.

Maybe we'll find a quiet place of 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New England Patriot, to devote and dedicate a moment of thought to those whose selflessness has in recent years been replaced by selfishness far too often.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 enjoy the Harbor fireworks, we can realize as marvelous as they are, nevertheless, they're a pallid and poor approximation of the too-often deadly barrages an unbroken line of heroes and heroines withstood without flinching so that we, who cannot be bothered to attend municipal budget hearings, who have better things to do than visit our child's school and meet the teachers, who have not one single positive suggestion or idea to foster and further community and economic enrichment and who turn out in record setting (low) figures to vote, still complain copiously at how poorly the city they have entrusted to us is now being handled. 

It was a rapid descent as we fell from the grace of E Pluribus Unum to the crassness of Where's Mine? Freedom Isn't Free has become a cliché and that's sad, because that belief is at the core of what Independence Day is and should be.

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. But those are big thoughts, perhaps for our big weekend as it unfolds. Today, after all, is only Almost Independence Day.
-bill kenny

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