The arc of the Mad River Valley’s Fourth of July celebration in Warren Village is strong. It has an almost magnetic pull on us whether we are here or away. Since the March state of emergency order and then the Stay Home, Stay Safe order and all the subsequent orders, we’ve been wondering about the Fourth of July.
We’ve all been waiting for the other shoe to drop. It dropped this week when the Warren Select Board in tandem with the Mad River Valley Rotary Club made the (correct) decision to cancel the parade and community celebration.
Let’s not kid ourselves; this is a first world problem. We are not crowded cheek by jowl in the subways or crowded public spaces and parks. We are fortunate enough to live here and shelter here where there’s enough room for us to spread out and stay safe.
But still we dreaded this. We held out hope and now we’re letting out the breath that we’ve been holding. Throughout our many weeks of staying home, it seemed that maybe, just maybe, by July things would be normal enough for the parade to be held.
It is sad and it is painful and it is a loss of a much beloved community celebration where we gather to collectively celebrate all the myriad freedoms that we have as citizens of the United States. Our raucous, irreverent celebration is part of our identity and part of our psyche.
We’re going to miss Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders being greeted like a rock star and we’re going to miss the Prickly Mountain extravaganza and Tim Seniff’s one-man float. We’ll miss Dr. Butsch and his crazy crew and the military jets soaring over our heads. We’re going to miss the band on the balcony of The Warren Store and dancing in the street with our friends and the snow cones and the celebration at Brooks Field.
We knew that other shoe was going to drop and now it has. We’ll get through this, and at 10 a.m. on July 4 take a minute and listen for the sounds of the cannon going off signaling the start of parades in years past and wish each other a happy Independence Day.