Do Fourth of July celebrations … make you feel American?

July-4-fireworks-display National celebrations can provide a sense of unity, a feeling of connection that crosses divides. This week on, we have been discussing what unites and what divides us as Americans.
    Independence Day is usually a symbolic expression of national unity. But celebrations will be quiet tomorrow in 375-year-old Ipswich, Massachusetts, a historic fishing village that played a key role in early American history. The traditional fireworks display at Castle Hill has been cancelled, a casualty of the economic times:
    “With the rising cost of the fireworks themselves, in addition to staff and contractual services, the Castle Hill Independence Day Fireworks event has lost money in recent years. In this economic downturn, [we] like so many other organizations and businesses we know, are taking measures to trim costs….” (Read the full press release here.)
    Among other notable events, it was in Ipswich that George Whitehead, a famous preacher in the 18th century revival known as the Great Awakening, is said to have preached with such intensity that the Devil leapt from the church and left his footprint in a nearby stone—an imprint you can still see today.

    How will you spend the 4th of July?
    Obama will be at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. I’m at our 26th annual family reunion, which, in a way, crosses some small divides: multiple generations, North/South, differences in political ideology.
    How about you?
    How do you plan to spend the nation’s birthday?
    However you spend it, does it give you a sense of belonging to a national community?

    ADD A COMMENT about this specific issue—or about values that unite or divide Americans in general. What other divisions do you see? What other signs of unity?

    Or, if you prefer, drop us a quick Email.

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