For some New York City residents of a certain age, their memories of the “bad old days” in the 1980’s are probably ones that they would prefer to forget.
Back then, I was a sheltered child, protected from the truth of the city. But now, as an adult, I understand why these memories are kept in the mental filling cabinet.
Recently, some have been saying that NYC is starting to return to the “bad old days”. Though Mayor Bill de Blasioinsists that we will not be back sliding into the past, the metrics state otherwise. Over the 4th of July holiday weekend alone, forty people were shot. Three of them were killed.
Before some of you jump on me, I need you hear me when I say that I am all for bail reform and police reform. If the city and the country is to move forward, we must address both ASAP. The last thing thing anyone wants is another Eric Garner or George Floyd case splashed across the headlines.
But I feel like there has to be a balance. The police and the justice system still need to be able to do their jobs.
I don’t claim to be an expert on these very touchy topics. I’m not and will make such a statement. But I am a proud NYC resident who cringes at the thought of my beloved city going back to an era which no one wants to revisit.
I don’t know what it will take to prevent us from rebooting the “bad old days” but with a 2020 twist. But I do know that something has to be done.
I wish today was an ordinary 4th of July. But as we all know, 2020 is not an ordinary year.
If nothing else, the protests following the murder of George Floyd and the issues created by Covid-19 has revealed the cracks in American society. If none of this was happening, it would be easy to ignore them. But one cannot ignore long standing issues if they are in your face 24/7.
We are at a precipice. We can either put our rose colored glasses on or we can finally start the process of becoming the nation that we could be. This is not the first time we have been at a crossroads. We can move forward as country. We can heal and accept that collectively, we have made mistakes. We only need to step up to the plate and learn from the past.
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this weekend, have a happy and safe Independence Day.
History has always been a fascinating topic. But sometimes, it must be couched or presented in a way that is exciting.
America: The Story of Us premiered in 2010 on the History Channel. Airing every 4th of July, this 12 part, 9 hour long documentary tells the story of 400 years of American history. Combining interviews, computer recreations and dramatic re-tellings of the events that shaped America’s history, this show is an academic history book brought to life.
As a history nerd, I find this program fascinating, even after multiple viewings. The history of our country comes alive, as if the viewer is experiencing it first hand. I especially appreciate how the changing technology is woven into the narrative, used an example of the American ideal of thinking out of the box to achieve our goals.
For most of the world, the 4th of July is just another day. But for the United States, is our Independence Day.
I am proud to be an American, in spite of our flaws. I am proud to live in a country in which my rights as an individual are respected. I am free to worship as I choose, to ask questions of my government and freely protest when I disagree with their actions. I am free to speak openly without fear of reprisal. This is the land of opportunity, a country in which someone who is born poor has the potential to die rich.
This is a land that opened her door and her arms to million of immigrants (including members of my own family) who were fleeing poverty, persecution and lack of freedom. This is a land in which generations of soldiers have fought and died for.
This is a land that after speaking of the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.We have and continue to right the wrongs of our past by protecting and opening doors to those who in past generations were denied because of who they were.
While this country and her citizens is far from perfect, I am proud to call this country home. I have written in the past about my immigrant forebears, who like millions of others, left their families and homelands for the freedom and opportunity that America represents.
Whatever you’re doing today, whether it be the beach, a barbecue, a family reunion, watching the fireworks or simply hanging out at home in the air conditioning, have a safe and happy Independence Day.
Today is the celebration of America’s Independence Day. Today we go to the beach, we barbecue and watch as the fireworks explode across the night sky.
But 4th of July is more than just another day off. It is a reminder of the struggle of generations of Americans who have fought and died for the freedoms we hold dear.
This country opened it’s arms to my immigrant great-grandparents more than a century ago. Escaping poverty and persecution, they came to America looking for freedom, security and opportunity. Their struggle, like millions of immigrants then and now was far from easy. But with hard work comes success and that success has made the United States the country that it is today.
While we as a nation are far from perfect, we still hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.