“I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us.
I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary!
Your high independence only reveals
the immeasurable distance between us.”
Every year, Americans rejoice and celebrate Independence Day with great fanfare. Amidst colorful parades, flag hoisting ceremonies, and barbecue parties. On this day Americans remember the suffering their forefathers endured to win them precious freedom.
For most of this country, this past 4th of July was less red, white and blue than normal. No parades, no concerts, no block parties or friendly barbecues but there was plenty of fireworks.
Shooting off any kind of fireworks is illegal in my neighborhood. You wouldn’t know that if you happen to be living or visiting here lately. The booms and hisses that start at sundown and go well into 3:00 am have been a nightly fixture since Memorial Day.
For the first time in decades, the 4th of July fireworks show was cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Redondo Beach has always had the traditional 4th of July fireworks display over the ocean for thousands to come and see for free. The show would begin at 9:00 pm and last for almost 45 minutes of spectacular fireworks ending in the explosive grand finale. Often when the show ended, the thousands of spectators would leave quietly and with very little trash left behind. If there were any stragglers left on the beach setting off small fireworks, you would see police peacefully and immediately put an end to these illegal activities.
There were no police to be found this 4th of July. There’s a war going on in this country right now not just with the Coronavirus but with all of its people.
A recent Gallup poll found that American Pride has hit a new low and few are proud of our political system. I don’t think I needed a poll to tell me this. It’s loud and clear. I hear the frustration every night, all night long.
It sounds to me, people are sick and tired of not working, lockdown, social distancing, not being heard, and most importantly lack of freedom.
We take for granted things we have had all our life. Take for granted people we know and love: Our good fortune and health: Our freedom. But, when we lose people we love, lose our health and good fortune what do we really have left? We have our freedoms of choice, speech, and the right to pursue our dreams. Most importantly, we have our freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
On this 2020 Independence Day we must be reminded that not all Americans have enjoyed freedom since 1776. We must be reminded that there are still Americans, because of no fault of their own, have not been allowed to be truly free in their own country because of the color of their skin. They have not been free to pursue what all of us should have the freedom to do.
On July 5, 1852 Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. Frederick Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 and fled North. He became a leader in the fight to abolish slavery entirely. Douglass was a powerful orator giving lectures on abolition. His speech that day was a scathing speech in which Douglass stated, “I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. For what to the slave is the 4th of July? You may rejoice, I must mourn.”