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OUR OPINION: Don’t take this Fourth of July for granted

As an American, it’s in our DNA to love the Fourth of July.

It’s a celebration of our freedom as a country, a time to be thankful for what so many endured to give us the rights we have today. What a great country to be a part of.

Our editorial last year was headlined “This Fourth of July we know better days are ahead.” It focused on the pandemic, which was at one of its worst points at that time, and the protests across our country for racial injustice. It noted that we were about to enter a polarizing election season, where a hard line had seemed to be drawn in the sand.

We said that healing was coming, as America was 200-plus years old and had overcome much to get where we are today.

That still rings true.

This Fourth of July our message is much simpler.

Yes, Republicans and Democrats in Washington D.C. are still arguing and will be until the end of time. And yes, it’s a shame that we still haven’t figured out a way as humans (not just Americans) to treat people equally regardless of their gender, race or sexual preferences.  And yes, the pandemic is still ongoing, though it feels more and more over every day.

But we encourage you to go back to simpler times this holiday. Fire up the barbecue, spend some time in the backyard with your family, and soak up the memories. Last year at this time, gathering was frowned upon and masks were prevalent. There wasn’t even baseball last year on the Fourth of July!

Masks are no longer the norm, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine and dwindling virus numbers in our country. And baseball is back in a big way.

For many months, times were rough and way too many Americans died — regardless of political viewpoint. But once again, America has seemingly persevered, even if not everyone agrees with how we got to this point.

That’s worth celebrating this Fourth of July. Happy birthday America.