Happy 230, America!

Pawlett, VT, July 4th Display

Hmmmm ... 230 years. Wow, it's extraordinary as I see it. At 63, I've been around for more than one-quarter of the USA's time-on-earth. I especially love the 4th; I think there is a pretty general spirit of celebration of what happened in July 1776 in Philadelphia. No presents (I hope). Don't pass it on, but I enjoy hot dogs on the 4th as much or more as the Thanksgiving feasts. (I'd add that while some of the "Thanksgiving Story" is a little different than the real thing ... the Philadelphia story definitely is the real thing. What a leap of faith! What a mess those guys got themselves into! (Read David McCullough's 1776—you really must; it's a page turner, and it illustrates what a close-run thing the independence endeavor was.

A lot of us are mad at a lot of others of us for what the U.S. is up to. I strongly urge a one-day truce. Life ain't easy, but we've done remarkably well. And, what a pain to govern one's fellow citizens—and what an amazing array of choices have faced almost all our Presidents.

Rushing off to a July 3 picnic as I write, so I'll have to hold the story about my July 4th, 1973, in Rangoon Burma; me and the CIA team there sharing hot dogs and drinks with the KGB guys ... in the U.S. Ambassador's back yard.

Happy 4th! Do overindulge with the hot dogs, the mustard, the ketchup, the chips, etc.

The photo at the top comes from a little town in Vermont, six miles from me—Pawlet. At the town square resides this small but important display, dressed up in a straightforward Vermont way for the 4th. (Among many other things, I believe VT had the highest per capita KIA rate in the Civil War.)