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Friday, July 12, 2024

Remember What Really Counts this Independence Day


Americans are regularly in need of a holiday, sometimes so much so that we look at an interrupted work week or long weekend as a great excuse to relax, get together, have a few drinks, and not much else. And while it’s not necessarily false that such an opening on the calendar can’t lend itself to such activities, it’s important to remember what actually counts on a day like Independence Day.

You might not know what your plans are. Barbecue? The beach? A bar crawl?

You might not know who you see. Friends? Family? Just yourself in the company of a good television show and a loving pet?

You might not know where you’ll go. The Hamptons? Robert Moses? The parade in Patchogue or Port Jefferson? Perhaps out of town or state?

These might be tough questions to answer on the fly, especially as we get absorbed into our work week more than we’d care to admit. But in reality, these are the easy questions.

The Founding Fathers were charting truly unnavigated waters during our country’s infancy. Would they be arrested and tried for treason? Would they survive the Revolution? Would the country over which they had just defied the world’s largest superpower live to tell the tale?

This is just where the basis of our recognition of July Fourth starts, but it’s safe to say already that generations of the past had indisputably more difficult questions than we do.

What about the Veterans who have served, some making the ultimate sacrifice to this country? Did they know whether or not they would return? Did they anticipate a life of physical and/or mental ailments after their service? Did they expect that their government would not be able to take care of them adequately upon return?

The Fourth of July is a unique holiday, in that it couples our most rudimentary history with our most current problems, all serving as a bleak reminder that the United States was an underdog like no other in the Revolutionary War, and that we still, to this day, are a treasure sought among the world’s population and a reflection, in many ways, of what many nations aspire to be.

Yet, the Fourth of July also plays host to some foolish decision-making and unfortunate circumstances. Look no further than the recent DWI crash at the nail salon in Deer Park. Did the NYPD officer, recently married, getting her nails done for a wedding think there was a chance she would never leave the salon? Did the owner of the salon know that his small business, one that was his family’s sole source of income, would wind up being the place he’d take his last breath, leaving behind two young children and a wife with years of recovery ahead? Does anyone truly anticipate a horrific act like that?

Don’t be the reason those questions must be asked. Be responsible this weekend. We all owe it to ourselves to have fun and unwind, but we owe a greater duty to our community to be responsible and not make them pay the price for our fun, and we have an even greater duty to reflect on our country’s unlikely founding and history.

True to this caveat of the holiday, Suffolk County held a demonstration of what could go wrong when handling fireworks and explosives. Someone, somewhere in this state, is currently living their final week with all ten fingers, and they have no idea. For your own sake, please don’t be foolish in your backyard. If you feel inclined to put on your own show – as there are numerous throughout Suffolk County on July Fourth – do so within your own understanding of pyrotechnics, and please don’t let someone inebriated light the fuse.

Do you have all ten fingers? Did you make it home safely from your seemingly-innocuous errand? Did you wake up in a country for which countless men and women have died over the last two-and-a-half centuries?

These are easy questions to answer, we hope. Keep them easy to answer, and most importantly, keep them easy to answer for others.

The Editorial Board
The Editorial Boardhttps://www.messengerpapers.com
The Messenger Papers Editorial Board aspires to represent a fair cross section of our Suffolk County readers. We work to present a moderate view on issues facing Long Island families and businesses.