Unless some just can’t stand it and decide to do it on their own, the tones of the replica Liberty Bell in Sun City will be silent this year.
The annual Ring That Bell ceremony, a long-time July 4 tradition, is canceled this year due to the coronavirus. Other communities in the Valley also canceled or altered their Independence Day celebrations.
For the past 13 years since I began covering the Sun Cities, the Ring That Bell ceremony has been a favorite activity. The program is relatively the same year-to-year, with some alterations. But the feeling I get while listening to the program, songs and the clang of that bell are a very enjoyable and prideful heart-pounding experience.
I would say the same is true for many people, as I usually see a packed social hall and long line to ring the bell. While doing research for a web-only story about patriotism, a resident mentioned to me the Ring That Bell crowds seem to be getting smaller over the years.
That is a shame. But times they are a-changin’.
Times may change, but some people’s feelings about this country will not. With things that are going on in the United States in the last few weeks, we are seeing both extremes — those that find all the flaws and cracks in America and on the other side those that know the country is not perfect but love it anyway. Both extremes, and those in between, for the most part want to see those flaws repaired, but they have different routes to take to get there.
Independence Day is not about arguing the merits or perceptions of what the United States has become. It is a time to celebrate the dream of what our Founding Fathers wanted this country to become. For the most part, I believe their dream has been realized. It took a while and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, some trial and error and some self-reflection. Is it perfect? Not yet. But with some determination and hard work, it can get very close to it.
But to get there, all who consider themselves Americans need to be reminded, from time to time, just what the dream of our Founding Fathers was for this country. Programs like the Ring That Bell ceremony can do that.
Not every community has a replica Liberty Bell or a ceremony that provides an overview of the origins of the country and the goals the Founding Fathers wanted to reach. But it would be helpful if they did.
In the meantime, while we all ride out this virus and its restrictions, it might be helpful to take some time to do your own research. Find out for yourselves what was the plan for the United States, what were the successes, where did we fail, how have we tried to rectify those failures and what we all can do to help keep this country on the path set out for it by those wise men who decided to stand up for what they believed in.
We owe it to them to give it our best effort.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!