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RANT OF THE DAY: A different way to celebrate the red, white and blue.
So how do we celebrate Independence Day this year? The spirit certainly is willing but the options for what helps make it all magical — the time spent with family, friends and neighbors, from parades to fireworks to picnics and trips to the lakes and rivers — are limited.
Ridge Ferry Park will not be the base for the community celebration we’re used to although Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation and sponsor Redmond Regional Medical Center promise to light up the sky for a good 20 minutes that night. (One of the best seats in the past? Atop the parking deck by Town Green).
The day-long celebration in Cartersville is on hold this year as is Calhoun’s star-spangled extravaganza.
The Rockwell-like community parade in Cave Spring is a go, with social distancing precautions and all, but will people turn out to march or watch? And will the homemade ice cream be served? A three-hour event is planned in downtown Rome — including prayer, songs and a citizens parade — but who will show up, especially in 90-plus degree heat and a thunderstorm threat?
The next question is who will be wearing a mask? We imagine some of those attending will be sporting some sort of patriot fabric — or nothing at all. And will families stand six feet apart or freely mingle?
On the day we celebrate our freedom, we’re likewise supposed to be observing vital health restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Odds are, most will ignore those limitations. If so, when will we see the outcome in terms of new cases and perhaps hospitalizations? It shouldn’t take more than a week.
There are options, of course. Watch the fireworks from strategic areas around town with your family. Plan smaller events with a trusted circle of friends. Watch some of it on television after the grill has cooled and the dishes are done.
Perhaps that doesn’t sound patriotic to most — but maybe it really is. Perhaps this is how we celebrate our country in 2020 by going a few extra steps to protect our neighbors and friends. Maybe we sacrifice a tradition such as the normal spread at Ridge Ferry in order to gather further down the calendar in 2020 at school and fall sports. Will we take extra precautions now in order to enjoy what usually is robust fall of activities.
We won’t compare patriotism to pandemic precautions. But maybe this is a sacrafice to help others — and ourselves
There are other ways to celebrate our country’s birthday. Buy and display that American flag you’ve been meaning to get. Put some patriotic bunting outside the house, perhaps on fences or between trees. Decorate the mail box. Save some extras to wrap around wagons and bikes and such and take you kids on a walk around the block, only call this one your family Independence Day parade.
One of the region’s most nostalgic celebrations started with a Cave Spring mother hoping to both educate and entertain her bored sons on a rainy Fourth of July. They called nearby relatives to meet them by the curb as they formed their own little parade to the grandparents’ house and back.
Thirty-five years later, the same mother is still the centerpiece of that parade. You’ll see Christa Jackson in her makeshift Lady Liberty wrap at the conclusion of the Cave Spring parade on the Fourth of July.
In this year of uncertainty, it is time to use a little bit of American ingenuity of your own. It doesn’t matter how you celebrate; just remember what you’re celebrating.
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