staying home, United States

It felt different this year

“Happy Fourth!” she cheerfully exclaimed as she and her partner descended down the mountain.

I think I mumbled a quick “Same to you,” but I honestly can’t remember, nor did I mean it if I did. I was just being polite.

It was July Fourth but I didn’t think there was anything to celebrate about. So, to hear this complete stranger say this to us as we were hiking just felt odd to me. I guess I just wasn’t expecting it.

Because, what’s there to be happy about in celebrating our country right now?

We have children at the border in cages. (And those who have sadly and unjustly perished). We have Vanessa Guillen and all the many other soldiers and other military personnel before her (and still to come) who chose to pursue a job to protect and serve, yet we cannot protect them from harm within their own battalion. These American women have been silenced, harassed, blamed for their rapes and murdered. We have protesters in my city of Seattle who were struck by a vehicle while marching for Black lives. One died and one remains in critical condition. Some people disgustingly are justifying their deaths saying things like “they deserved it.” We have systemic racism. We have a lack of gun control. We have greed. We are spiking in our number of covid cases and deaths because we are an individualistic country that values our selves and not others.

I could go on and on. But, I won’t. You know everything that is going on in our country.

And, I know a lot of this is not new. A lot of these issues (besides the pandemic, obviously) have been going on wayyyyy before 2020.

It’s not like I ever had a very close connection to this holiday. It had always been nice to have the extra day off to have a long weekend (or a mid-week break if the Fourth fell in the middle of the week). Last year I was in Canada for the Fourth. In the past, Bryce and I would always be with our friends playing in a big Ultimate Frisbee tournament held annually Fourth of July weekend. But, the day never “irked” me like it did this past weekend. I know in the past I’d even wish others a “Happy Fourth of July!” just as the hiker greeted us a few days ago.

In my opinion, it’s just completely different this year.

I didn’t feel there was anything to celebrate.

I know I wasn’t alone in this feeling. I saw many people post on social media about their struggle, anger, confusion and/or sadness in this holiday.

And, it’s hard to know what to do with one’s struggles, anger, confusion and/or sadness with the state of our country. However, a big — and simple — action is to vote.

Make sure you and your loved ones are registered to vote.

And, please, wear your mask when you’re in public.

OK, getting off my soapbox now. You already know what to do.

And, if not, getting outside — even if it’s just a quick walk around the block — is a great place to start.

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