What does Independence Day mean to you?

Shawn Magrath

I trust that most everyone had an enjoyable (and face-melting hot) Fourth of July. Ah, what better way to celebrate your independence than a fine mixture of alcohol and explosives? I’m under the assumption that no reports of injury or sudden fires means a good and moderately responsible time was had by all.

The most dedicated readers of The Evening Sun saw a different kind of front page on Wednesday – snapshots of community members, along with their own words describing what Independence Day means to them. Reporters set out earlier this week to talk to strangers on the street for a contribution, myself bearing the heat and rejection after rejection, after rejection, after rejection… it was horrible, like high school prom all over again. One man completely ignored me, presumably because he thought I was trying to sell him something (in which case, I’d like to think I would have been more assertive – chasing him down the street and screaming “You’ll buy”).

Regardless of the more than 30 people who shot me down, I really appreciate the ones who said a few words and their succumbing – though reluctant – to have their picture in the paper. I heard a lot of great responses (much better than the usual “Go away” I came to know and love) but what worried me in the process was the responses I got from some of the local kids. Granted, some were pretty young (10-years-old-ish) but some were well into their teen years and had no idea what Independence Day was:

• “What does Independence Day mean to you?”
• “It’s a day to celebrate Independence”
• “Yeah, but what does that mean exactly?”
• “You know, a day where we celebrate the people who didn’t die.”

My favorite response:

• “It’s a day when we celebrate the history of our presidents.”
• “Oh yeah, kind of like Presidents’ Day?”
• “Yeah”

At least they didn’t assume I was trying to sell them a subscription.

Switching gears, the Gus Macker tournament is this weekend – already. I hope basketball is your forte.