"Independence Day this year deserves a longer reflection" by: Mike Reddell

   Independence Day is Saturday. 
   It’s always a day of celebrations – fireworks and parades – that often include family and friends.
   I think I remember as many July fourths as I do Christmases past. 
   After decades of writing columns, I often cringe at rereading something I’ve composed that comes across in a lecture mode. 
   That’s not really a spoiler alert of what comes next.
   I just want all of us to reflect, however briefly, this Independence Day. 
   You know, observing the July 4, 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence, making us free from British rule.
   This year, maybe we ought to linger a little longer on that reflection.
   After the terrible Charleston church killings – and the drive to remove all things confederate - after the senseless burnings of other southern black churches, after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, after the high court’s affirmation of same-sex marriages, our collective reactions show we are very much a nation divided.
   It’s the other guys – their beliefs, their ideology, their religion, their sex, their color. The other person we don’t agree with – they’re the misguided.
   Over the years, as I’ve shared tales of my two sons with other parents of more than one child, one thing always is the same.
   No two children raised in the same family are the same – in fact, as my sons were/are, siblings often are almost total opposites.
   Most of us accept those differences within the context of our families.  
   Independence Day has been and always should be about different people coming together as the United States. 
   I wish I was writing this from some ivory tower – above the fray – and dispensing red, white and blue togetherness.
   I’m not above the toil of emotions or belief. 
   This Independence Day, beyond any other in my memory, I’m going to focus on being an American and moving on down the road. 
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