The Fourth of July revisited
by Mimi Simmons, Washington State

The fireworks in our neighborhood started about a week ago. It’s now Sunday morning, the 3rd of July and I jumped at an unexpected boom on this otherwise quiet, beautiful early morning. Some people just can’t wait to blow things up. It’s better than more violent options, but annoying.

The Fourth of July has never been my favorite. I did enjoy dancing around the yard in the dark with sparklers when I was a girl but since then, I’ve not found joy or inspiration in the holiday. It’s too loud for too long, scares the animals, leaves a mess, and wastes so much money that could be put to better use.

This year though, I’ve been feeling warmer toward the 4th, simply because of the recent hearings on the January 6 attack on our capitol. So many people (so many Republicans!) speaking up to tell the truth in the face of enormous pressure, even death threats. So much bravery to protect our democracy! I’m proud of these Americans and am celebrating this Independence Day in honor of them.

So I’ve claimed the 4th as my own, just as I reclaimed the flag a few years ago. With a group of friends we discussed how the flag had come to belong more to those with a right-leaning persuasion than to those of us who are more left-leaning. When Trump was pictured hugging the flag, the symbol of our nation came to our attention in a new way. We realized we had stopped embracing it. We talked about how we might reclaim it, re-frame what it represents to us, discuss our ideas with others, and perhaps come together a little better. A few of us collaborated on a new version of the flag and came up with an image we liked. I printed one out, made my own bumper sticker, and hoped someone would comment on it, sparking one of those possible conversations.

This morning, I put our version of the flag on my front door in honor of the holiday and the current efforts to cherish and protect our country. It’s a small gesture but it fills my heart.

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