On Monday, we — as a nation — celebrated the 240 th Anniversary of Independence Day. Many of us turned on our grills, took in a parade, watched fireworks or spent the day with family and friends. Where and how we celebrated is in many ways emblematic of our freedom to choose our own path.
This salute is extremely late. I don’t mean late for Memorial Day or even Black History Month. I mean this salute — to black soldiers who fought in the Civil War — is more than 150 years late. But so was America’s salute.
I live in suburbia — home to barbecues and book clubs, malls and multiplexes, country clubs, cul-de-sacs and Costcos the size of Connecticut. The occupants of those precincts will be out in force this Saturday, as SUVs all over town disgorge 50-plus types eager to communally celebrate our national birthday. (Cause to feel festive: We’re only 239 years old!)
With AAA forecasting that 41.9 million of us will hit the highways over the July 4th weekend, findings from a new AARP Travel survey prove that the old-fashioned road trip remains prized by travelers 45 and older.
Can you imagine the looks on their faces in the audience when abolitionist Frederick Douglass, speaking at a commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, asked the question, “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?”
It's so much easier to talk about all the things our country does wrong, to focus on the wars we are in and to obsess about the economy. But when I traveled to New York City last week with my friend who is from Peru and who had always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty, it became clear to me that we are indeed a nation of people who should stop and take time to think about what our country means to others less fortunate.
According to several news stories, including this one from USA Today, many Americans are hitting the road this weekend! AAA projects that about 34.9 million people are venturing at least 50 miles from home, up 17% from 2009! They also project that 90 percent of those traveling will be traveling by car.
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