When I was a young reporter at The Bradford Era, we didn’t print papers on July 5th and December 26th so all of us could take off Christmas and the 4th of July to mark the big religious and national observances. As a kid, the best thing about the 4th was the party held at my Aunt Kuni & Uncle Lyle’s in Johnsonburg. My father was one of nine close siblings and that made for big, wonderful family gatherings. Three of those siblings served in the military during World War II and I understood from a young age that the U.S. was founded in reaction to tyrrany, some real and some perceived, and that just seven years before my birth, two uncles and an aunt were in uniform in reaction to yet another attempt at tyrranical rule. I understood it took real blood and real sacrifice to declare and maintain independence. We may never get this right as a nation, but given the history of government worldwide, this is as noble an enterprise as I can imagine. Its failures and misfires are deeply troubling and attributable to the fact as human beings we are susceptible to all manner of disorder, which is often exaggerated when we hold dominion over others—hence the separation of powers. This country’s successes have come when our leaders have inspired us to lead with what is good and caring and noble. The written record of how we have wrestled with ordering and running societies dates back to the ancient Greeks. We’ve got to keep tweaking. My two cents for today is that we will be far better served on this 4th to temper the rah-rah with some serious thought. Where have we been? Where are we heading? How can we as individuals help propel this apparently sputtering craft forward? The stakes are huge. Given that, I wish you reflection and togetherness.