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It kind of struck me this year on the 4th of July that the holiday reminds me so much of Thanksgiving. I think you could call her “The Great Thanksgiving of the Summer.”

Like Thanksgiving, it has become a big family event. We didn’t have many of our children at home this year, as they were reuniting with their families elsewhere. Once your children are married, you must accept the fact that you must share their time with the “in-laws”. Such is life, but that’s a good thing. On July 4, people set aside time to be with their family, even if that means they might not come to your house.

Of course, the holiday really began in 1776 with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, and it’s been a big day for the country ever since. When trying to describe our country, I’ve always thought the words on the Great Seal of the United States say it best: E pluribus unum,–“Among many, one.”

Admittedly, we have lived through an era more centered on “among many” side of the equation – people go in different directions, disagree, sometimes don’t like each other. But, the 4th of July reminds us that we are still “a.” Old Glory flies up there with its 50 stars and 13 stripes reminding us that we remain one people.

There were still a few political flags flying on flagpoles and boat masts this year, but they were fewer. The American flag was the dominant symbol seen and flown.

There are probably reasons for this. The political rhetoric is down and the real concern is up. With inflation up, the stock market down, and the war in Ukraine going on, it kind of brought us back to reality that “we are all in there.” Life is not one “hop-jump-and-jump” from one euphoric high to the next. Humanity still struggles to get along. There are evil forces in the world that need to be confronted, and we need each other to deal with such things.

On the 4th, friends of ours sent us a “Hurry up” video of their brood for a family photo. There were people of all ages, sizes, and walks of life running around setting up benches and chairs, then smiling for the photo followed by the teardown of the stage. It was a hoot to watch! It also sent a visual message (not in writing) about what a great day they had as a family.

Earlier in the weekend, one of our children returned with friends to attend their high school reunion. Talk about the political diversity in the group – it ranged from bright blue to dark red – the whole gamut. Jokes were even made about it at one of the reunion events. Fortunately, these are friendships that will never break. Among many others, one is still the mantra of this decades-old high school class.

Yes, there are, there have been and there will still be divisions in our body politic. But, as with families or old friends from high school, we can overcome our differences or our divisions. The message on the Great Seal still stands. E pluribus unum. This is what makes us strong and resilient. It also makes Thanksgiving in the summer!

Rolland Kidder is a resident of Stow.



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Joseph K. Bennett