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Scene: Modest Vermont town
Occasion: This Fourth of July

Who to invite? How about a lot of children, various sizes and ages, all with shiny and eager faces, waiting for the parade to begin. Sit them on the curbs so they can dash out into the street and grab the candy that will be tossed to them. And a lot of elderly women with lawn chairs and big, floppy hats for shade. Don’t leave out the gentlemen, with their lawn chairs, too, holding flags and water bottles. Waiting. Lots of tourists from far away, and nearby towns, and some local dignitaries, and the scouts, and the youth band, and the veterans of foreign wars in uniform, and a men’s choral group singing “It’s a Grand Old Flag.”

Celebrate with candy, and motor bikers, and beribboned costumes, and endless fire engines from all the local towns decorated with flags, honking and tooting loudly. Make sure the army jeeps and the veteran bands come and little dogs have to run about freely.

Rise up for the national anthem when the band stops to play it. Sing off key, but sing along. Pause for a moment of silence to remember the fallen who served our country, and shout happily when the bagpipe band comes by.

Such a party…in this little town in Vermont, and in almost countless towns across America. Multigenerational, multicultural, multiracial, and all Americans. Sentimental, noisy, crowded and joyous…we wouldn’t have it any other way! May we always be able to have it this way. God bless our AMERICA!