Celebrating America

FI-EditorialHappy birthday, America! Forget that there are 238 candles on the cake. You don’t look a day over 235! So what are we going to do to celebrate?

Of course there will be fireworks Saturday night at Binney Park and Greenwich Point (weather permitting of course) and on Friday morning, there will be the town’s annual Fourth of July celebration outside of Town Hall. The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. and while that might be an early start on a day off, it’s worth getting up for. Not only does the ceremony honor Greenwich’s rich history but it marks the achievements of town students with Good Citizen awards.

All that plus you get a birthday cake cut by a sword. What more could you possibly want?

Yes, it’s time to get patriotic in Greenwich, something the town never has any trouble with. The kind of spirit that has driven this country is alive and well in town and it’s always good to see it whether it’s in the fireworks, the Boy Scouts displaying the flags of the 13 original colonies, or the way those American flags always look on the Mianus River Bridge.

There are even more subtle reminders of the patriotic spirit all over town. It’s in the way the residents of this town are there for each other in times of need, in the willingness Greenwich shows to help out the young, the elderly, the sick and everyone in between, and it’s even in the way everyone became a national team soccer fan these past few weeks even if it led to disappointment.

But there’s something that must be remembered. Even at 238-year-old America is still a pretty young country and that means not only is it still growing and developing but there are plenty of ways it can get even better. The best thing about our Constitution is that it is a living, breathing document, able to adapt to a changing country, and that’s needed more than ever. Despite those who always seem to wish America was turning backwards, it is a country boldly, though sometimes slowly, moving forward.

The founding fathers we revere created this grand experiment at a time when no one could imagine the automobile, much less the Internet. And, oh yeah, people owned other people and women weren’t allowed to vote. Whether it was accidental or simply great forward vision, the principles and documents America was founded on have been able to stretch and change as needed over the centuries and it’s still happening.

Just 10 years ago the most successful wedge issue in politics was to deny rights to the LGBTQ community. Today, allowing gay marriage and equal rights is commonly accepted. Ten years from now those who stood in the way will be regarded like those who stood against equality in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. They will be dinosaurs relegated to the past.

But there’s more change coming. America is changing. Some day (and spoiler alert, it will be soon) there actually will be genuine immigration reform in this country. Diversity will be fully embraced and the madness of the current policies will be done away with, leaving once again those who stood in the way choking on dust amongst the fossils. Sure we take steps back somedays (religious rights for corporations at the expense of people? Good job, Supreme Court) but more often we’re moving forward.

America is a country with a lot to learn and so much more left to accomplish. We will all be celebrating her birthday tomorrow but more importantly in the years to come we will be celebrating her continued growth.

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