Jonathan Richie BW.tif

Someone once said, “Nothing is more important than independence and freedom.”

This weekend in Siren people practiced their freedoms and independence. It was a beautiful day outside.

Every year people come to Siren to celebrate Independence Day. The day begins with the Freedom 5K, then there’s bed races, pancake breakfasts, a race for kids, then the parade and fireworks go off over Crooked Lake at dusk.

Now I don’t know if you’ve heard, but 2020 has been an interesting year with this coronavirus thing.

So, when Siren decided to go forward with the festivities they scaled back a bit and made some new rules. They would only be having the 5K, bed races, the parade and fireworks.

Siren’s village president was very proud that the village went forward with the festivities. But it created quite a headache for local law enforcement. There were several meetings with police discussing the issues with the Village.

This increased presence was not to protect people by enforcing social distancing but to make sure the event did not get out of control and lead to protests.

Members of the sheriff’s office were anticipating a potential of 10,000 people. One police officer said he believed there was maybe 700 in attendance at the parade on Monday afternoon.

There was also fear of social groups busing in protesters following the unrest in the Twin Cities following the murder of George Floyd.

I felt safe all day, except for the heat. When it gets past 90 degrees it’s important to remember that heatstroke happens when you stop sweating. So, while I was standing and sweating on the corner of Main Street and State Road 35/70 I knew it wasn’t heatstroke but could be dehydration.

However, we’ll see what the numbers look like in two weeks with COVID-19 cases. There wasn’t 10,000 but there was certainly more than the CDC recommendation of no gatherings larger than 10 people.

I saw a handful of masks Saturday. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t wearing one. But to be honest I have been keeping 6 to 10 feet away from people since learning to talk.

At the end of the day, Americans are going to cling to what the Founding Fathers laid out for us during the American Revolution. Although, this virus does not care what country you live in or who you voted for. So, maybe we should be a little smarter over the next several months.

Again – not a doctor just a thought from someone who loves America just as much as being alive.

And finally, the quote from the beginning is from Ho Chi Minh, a nationalist who read directly from the Declaration of Independence back in September 1945 after he proclaimed the independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh square.

Jonathan Richie is the editor of the Burnett County Sentinel. He can be reached at 715-463-2341 or email at