Annapolis, Maryland— crowds gathered. People stood waiting for the festivities to begin. From West Street and down along Main Street to City Dock, many had dressed for the occasion by donning red, white, and blue. It was Saturday morning July 3rd, Independence Day weekend. All ages and sizes, they gathered to watch the first local parade in the state capital since the St. Paddy’s Day festivities of 2020. They smiled, waved, and hugged. I saw only one person wearing a mask.
Independence Day is being celebrated in Annapolis with picnics, parades, and fireworks. Yes, gatherings of more than ten people have returned, but the atmosphere is slightly subdued. The parade lasted an hour, with a long line of emergency vehicles, antique cars, political candidates, and the participation of the Corvette Club, but missing were the buckets of candy hurled to waiting children, the visiting marching bands, prancing horses, and colorful costumed dancers. I got the sense that many of the usual participants chose a more cautious path, preferring to sit this one out.
But we had a parade and this year there is still no parade in either Baltimore or Washington D.C., our two neighboring big cities. And we’ll have fireworks Sunday night. I’m still cautious myself about thick crowds. I’ll try to watch from a more distant vantage point than standing with the mob that gathers at the foot of Main Street. Because we are a waterfront town with many street parks, it is possible to see the fireworks from boats, bridges, and piers.
So is it safe and is the country starting to heal? I definitely felt a sense of comaraderie while watching our little parade. It didn’t seem to matter which political party you were affiliated with, everyone seemed intent on enjoying the mild weather ( not too hot) and appreciating the privilege of being able to gather. I think of the old Joni Mitchell song “They Paved Paradise and Put in a Parking Lot.” Unfortunately, our human nature is to take too much for granted, not knowing what we’ve lost until poof it’s gone. Many of us around the globe have lost loved ones and livelihoods as a result of Covid-19 and it’s still raging strong with new variants arriving on our shores. We also have a rash of wildfires and floods in both the United States and the world. Many are hungry and homeless.
With our stockpile of vaccine and recovering economy, we are the “have’s” in a world of “have not’s”. Happy Birthday America. Congratulations for making it through the tough times. And now, how about sharing some of that birthday cake.
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