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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

On the Eve of the Fourth of July

North Miami Beach, FL 07-03-2005
A.H. Schectman

On the eve of the Fourth of July (Thank you to all the people who sent cards and sentiments) it has become harder and harder to define just what this holi-Holy Day really means.  It is easy to say it is seeing reruns of the old war movies and those celebrating hearth and home.  For some reason it has become a ritual to replay all the old monster movies also, the kind with vampires with dripping teeth ogling some fresh female neck.  It is also easy to predict that there will be athletic events and “traditional” barbecue parties on lawns and outside of homes where this is permissible.  These parties go on into the night to the sights and sounds of bombs exploding in air and the brilliant light displays of the makers of these permissible fireworks.  I noted the warning that no one should shoot off guns which is popular here in Miami – and not just the accompaniment of car-bombs or shoulder launched grenades.  Our Fourth of July is supposed to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and we are supposed to be free and independent today. There used to be parades with demonstrations of our military might along with the veterans of past and present wars – but during a period of the phony peace (we are still actually at war, you know) it seems to be awkward to celebrate our current war because of the growing antipathy to it.

What we are not is a bit more difficult to articulate.  First, your decision and mine about what to do is dictated by the venues that want your dollars while you celebrate.  Going to see a parade and buying the goods that are made in China and elsewhere to take home is one thing.  Going out to eat is another and this is a good way to thank mother for all she does all year long. Going to the movies and then to a barbecue seems to be the favorite.

Unseen by us is the profits made from us by the profiteers selling war goods or mementoes to those of us who pass by their shops.  Sometimes they will hawk their goods right amidst the crowds.  But the profiteers who sell the munitions – not the fireworks – are the ones who on the eve of the Fourth of July will have already made their fortunes for they are the ones who benefit by war.  The people in charge of burying the dead will not profit.  The hospitals who will try to pin together the parts blown into pieces will not profit.  There will be many who do free work to heal the divisions in people, in this country and in the world who will work only harder because this is the strength of their belief.  What will not be done, above all, is the finalization of the work of the peace makers, work that is unheard and unseen, because the fireworks are too loud and the displays overhead are too grandiose.  Let there be peace on Earth! Let  this happen because of this birthday of the U.S.A.



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