Stangl

We are nearing Independence Day, the traditional midpoint of summer. Saturday marks the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a day traditionally filled with families, food, fun and fireworks.

I say “traditionally” because, like everything else in 2020, July 4 celebrations will be different this year.

Social distancing continues to be observed by many and health experts tell us that doing things outdoors can minimize the risks associated with coronavirus. That’s good news, because I believe we need to gather as much and as responsibly as possible now for several reasons.

We need to see our friends and family. It’s been nearly four months since the news of the virus spreading to our nation became the leading story for many news outlets. With over two million confirmed cases, over 120,000 deaths and over 736,000 people recovered, the virus has tested every aspect of our way of life.

Now that stay at home orders are being relaxed or struck down by the courts, we can move around with fewer restrictions. It’s important to exercise some common sense and strong sanitary hygiene, but we can and should see one another, as long as everyone involved is willing and able.

It’s been a long spring and early summer and we have up to a year more ahead of us before a vaccine is developed to protect us all, especially the most vulnerable in our society. The ties of family and friends sustain us through many trials and travails of daily life. When we have the chance to gather, we should do so while it is reasonably comfortable outside.

Summer, like many of the good things in life, tends to slip away before we realize it was here. I believe this will happen more than normal this year because many community celebrations and “normal” summer activities are not being held, in the interest of public safety.

I’m not going to debate the merits of herd immunity or the liability of having a community celebration where adequate social distancing can’t be achieved because the point in the minds of many on each sides of these issues is made up. I only hope we can agree to disagree on these things and remain civil to one another.

I know this may seem difficult to some, but we must try.

Which brings me back to the Fourth of July.

Families can and should, in my opinion, get together for a gathering that keeps everyone safe but also nourishes the need we all have to be part of something larger than ourselves. This will look different for every family and that’s OK.

We shoot off some fireworks (or watch some being set off) during the Independence Day holiday, reminding us of the fight for our nation’s freedom so long ago. I believe it is all together fitting and proper we gather this year to celebrate our interdependence with each other.

It’s a healthy thing to admit and acknowledge our need to be loved and to be near those we love. Technology helped us through the first part of the pandemic and will be needed in the fall and winter, but while we can, let’s go outside and be with each other.

Thanks to the communities who are proceeding with fireworks this weekend. We will set more off when a vaccine is in circulation.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.