It is after midnight. I'm usually not up this late, but I can hear fireworks in the distance. One of our dogs needs reassurance, so sleep will have to wait. I'm not a big fan of fireworks - the making of noise for the sake of noise, disturbing sleep and terrifying animals, so inferior to the grand displays that light up the sky, thrilling us with their shapes and colors, still terrifying animals but at least giving you something besides just noise. I'd love to ask these noise-loving folks if they are really celebrating something...do they have a sense of what it's all about? I hope they do. This year feels different - we're fighting another kind of war it seems, one to be free of a tyrant known as COVID-19. And we're facing a difficult truth... that not all of us can celebrate the holiday of Independence with the same enthusiasm, because not all of us have been allowed to be free... free of stereotypes, free of labels, free from prejudices that surely imprison us with their chains of ignorance and hate. All of the things that we, as a nation, have promoted but not enforced, envisioned but not shared, believed but did not always understand, now is the time. Now is the time to enforce, share and understand. We're hearing different noises this July 4th, but like the shot at Concord in 1775, in 2020, the noise being heard around the world is the thunder of a country struggling for its integrity by remembering and honoring what we stand for! If you're inspired to write, use your gift and add your voice to that noise - a sound well worth making.