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Our View: Time for a birthday

On July Fourth the kids tied tassels to the handlebars of their bicycles.

They rode in circles around the cul-de-sac as the red, white and blue streamers flapped in the hot wind.

Parents watched from nearby, a cold soda clutched in most hands as the colors flew past.



“Summer is here,” they’d mouth, chuckling to themselves as they remembered their own bicycles decorated for the Fourth.

We’re here, too, after a grueling year separated from each other by a pandemic. We’re still here after a tumultuous election season, and it’s time for all of us to celebrate being Americans.




For many, that means barbecues and fireworks. Sitting on a blanket near the family car, staring at the night sky, waiting for that first burst of color to appear. You can almost see the ramparts from here.

The bands are in the background, performing patriotic songs one after the other. Kids are running through the grass with their hot dogs. And, yeah, looks like you can still see that flag waving over your land, your home.

You can see flag displays in Grass Valley and Nevada City. The Flags Over the Foothills display puts American flags in downtown Grass Valley on four days each year — Memorial Day, Flag Day, July Fourth and Veterans Day.

Be sure to raise your eyes and see the colors wave as you visit downtown this weekend.

There’s a lot going on this holiday. By happenstance or fate, July Fourth landed at a perfect spot on the calendar when viewed through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic. The weather is hot, much of our county is vaccinated, and Americans are ready to celebrate their country and its birth.

And maybe themselves, as well.

The festivities begin at 9 a.m. today with a pancake breakfast and children’s carnival on Mill Street in Grass Valley. The activities shift at 11 a.m. with beer and wine, food and craft vendors, as well as clowns, a magician and face painting.

The Nevada County Concert Band will start playing at 8:30 a.m. Sunday on Mill Street, with a flyover by the Golden Empire Flying Association scheduled for soon afterward. The July Fourth parade starts at 9 a.m. Sunday at Dorsey Drive and East Main Street. It’ll travel to downtown Grass Valley before ending.

The big event, of course, is the fireworks.

There’s always a hunt for a good spot to watch. Some communities hold them in football fields, and the crowds spread out across the green in anticipation of the show. Others gather by a levee, waiting for nightfall.

In Grass Valley, people will stake out the best spots in the area of Dorsey Drive and Highway 49. The fireworks will start around 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Bring a batch of your father’s homemade ice cream while you wait.

It’s a cliché that the anniversary of our nation’s birth is the one day where we set aside our differences and celebrate being Americans. But it’s important to say it. For too long we’ve huddled on one side or other of the political divide, sharpening our rhetoric and practicing our keyboard warrior skills. We’ve poisoned ourselves.

No one expects a three-day weekend to cure our societal ills. But this July Fourth is a good reason to set them aside, just for a moment, and remember the ties that bind us together, not the forces that pull us apart.

So roll out the grill and invite the neighbors over. See the friends you’ve missed while walking down Mill Street. Forget who’s red or blue, and hoist the red, white and blue in honor of America.

And say a prayer of thanks that we get to as we share another one of her birthdays.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com


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