Bang, zoom go the fireworks…wait, that’s something different.
Is there anything more “normal” than celebrating the Fourth of July? It is the unofficial mid-point of summer and screams barbeques and backyard parties. And, yes, it is also when we celebrate America’s independence.
That word holds a slightly different connotation in 2021.
Try as we might like to forget if we set the way-back machine to 2020 the word “celebration” hardly comes to mind. I think fear and loathing would be more appropriate. It seems like a lifetime ago that we could not gather in large groups and were only hoping for a vaccine to stop the spread. It is so surreal.
Our lives are returning to whatever normal is but what about our attitudes? How has the pandemic – and the fear it inspired – changed our sense of security?
We have experienced significant changes in how we live, work, and play. Would any of us think that working remotely was a good thing? Or that there was such a thing as Zoom fatigue? Something as simple as grocery shopping became a harrowing experience.
Thanks to a dramatic change in the trajectory of the virus, we are now free to roam about our neighborhoods and mingle with others. However, there is that little voice in the back of our heads that still says, “be careful”. Not wipe down everything in sight and wear a hazmat suit kind of caution…but, still. The virus has not gone away. Millions are still vulnerable to it. And the variants will just keep on coming.
While the pandemic increased our collective paranoia, it also made us more aware of our surroundings. It opened our eyes to some health and safety precautions that might become habitual for many. It also made us more appreciative of the little things. A casual in-person conversation with a friend, the hug of a distant relative, and the smiles you can see again.
At the same time, it shook us to the very core of our society. None of us could have imagined the death and destruction a pandemic could have caused. We have all experienced localized catastrophes – either live or in the media. But few have gone through a global crisis like the one that is trying to taper off.
All the more reason we should celebrate this Independence Day. Not just for our nation but for ourselves. We have earned it.