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COVID-19 casts pall over holiday

Unimpeded by the coronavirus pandemic, many communities across America will present their traditional fireworks displays this weekend in honor of Independence Day.

Virtually every U.S. city and town also will experience its share of firecrackers and colorful airborne displays.

Meanwhile, keeping with this mid-year patriotic celebration, many families will visit parks to enjoy swimming, fishing, boating and picnicking, as well as numerous other outdoor adventures — among the staples of American life — despite COVID-19.

Hopefully, everyone will remain mindful of the precautions they should be taking in regard to their holiday interactions and while traveling to and from their various destinations.

Missing, of course, will be the opportunity to attend a Major League baseball game and numerous other events — some sporting and some not — that for generations have epitomized the lively spirit that usually is front and center for this important national holiday.

People are scared — for good reason. There is no indication that COVID-19 is on the verge of being defeated.

Rather, a number of states are experiencing a horrific explosion of new cases, and fears persist over what the “regular” 2020-21 flu season may deliver.

Indeed, 2020 will go down in history as a year most Americans will want to forget, despite whatever traditional festivities are salvaged over the course of the current 12 months to pay homage to important national accomplishments, one of them being the Continental Congress’ decision in 1776 to declare independence from Britain.

That is at the heart of this weekend’s celebration — destined to be repeated every year, as long as the United States exists.

Still, the troubling reality lives on that this nation, as well as nations around the world, have not found the key to proclaiming independence from COVID-19, which has afflicted so many people in America and worldwide and claimed so many lives. In this country, with the pandemic still haunting every state, people, during this Independence celebration, are in fact feeling less “free” than they have felt anytime during their lifetime.

They are feeling confined, despite the gradual reopening of businesses and activities.

Independence Day is predominantly a time of rest from individual workplace pressures as well as other challenges. Nevertheless, most Americans, amid all of that, understand the sacrifices, bravery and unrelenting determination that produced a nation 244 years ago about which most people around the world are envious.

Many politicians use this holiday as an opportunity to appear at a public event to praise America’s heritage, history, laws and people. They also should urge their constituents to embrace faith in the ability of the scientific community to unlock COVID-19’s “secrets” that prevent development of a vaccine or finding a cure.

Do celebrate this patriotic July 4 observance, but do it sensibly, and with the hope that Independence Day 2021 will bring a return to normalcy.

This is a great nation. Its two-centuries-long independence is testimony to that.

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