Orlando apologizes for suggesting canceling 4th of July

(David Joles/Star Tribune via AP)

In the suburban/rural area where I live, our town sends out periodic newsletters via email to anyone who signs up for them, particularly around the holidays. The 4th of July was no different this year, and locals were given a list of locations and times for the various parades being held, along with a traditional 5K run and some cooking competitions. It was nice and the turnout for many of those events wound up being much larger than any we’d seen since the beginning of the pandemic. But if you happened to live in the vicinity of Orlando, Florida, you received a very different type of newsletter. It suggested that maybe you should just stay home. Why? Basically, because the country is in such a crappy situation at the moment, why would you want to celebrate it? This did not go over well, to put it mildly, and now the city has apologized for “the error.” (National Review)

The City of Orlando, Fla., issued an apology on Saturday after it suggested in its weekly newsletter that people may not want to celebrate the Fourth of July this year because the country is in “strife.”

“A lot of people probably don’t want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can’t blame them,” Orlando’s City News read on Friday. “When there is so much division, hate and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it?”

“But in all seriousness, you know in your heart, Fourth of July fireworks are amazing, especially when you are standing in 90° heat, 100% humidity, next to 100,000 of your closest friends,” the newsletter added. “In that moment, something takes over and we all become united in an inexplicable bond. Yes, America is in strife right now, but you know what…we already bought the fireworks.”

It’s not clear to me if whoever wrote the original newsletter had tapped the keg a bit early and thought they were making a joke with the comment about how “we already bought the fireworks.” If so, they probably don’t really belong in PR work. They also managed to work in an insult about Florida’s high heat and humidity. Guess what? You’re in Florida. In July. Were you expecting snow?

Clearly they either had the same person pen the apology or they didn’t manage to find anyone brighter to do it. After apologizing to anyone who might have been offended, they wrote, “We value the freedoms we have in this country and are thankful to the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for those. We take pride in celebrating the 4th of July to express our gratitude to those men and women and honor the country we live in.

That was at least a nice sentiment, but why did they launch into a tribute to the people who fought for our freedoms? You realize that it’s not Veterans Day or Memorial Day or even Armed Services Day, right? It’s Independence Day, which contrary to the apparent beliefs of some officials in Orlando, is not just a really great movie about aliens. (Of course, it’s also a really great movie about aliens, but that’s not the point.)

I’m honestly not sure what to say in response to this. I doubt that anyone is ever 100% happy about every single thing going on in the country at any given time. I know I can’t recall a time in more than 60 years that I was. And yes, there is a lot of infighting and arguing going on at present. But it’s still our country. It’s our republic (if you can keep it). If you really don’t see any point at all in celebrating that, do you really want to keep living here?

I think I may just have to go with the response from Ron DeSantis’ spokesperson on this one. When you elect people who look at the country very differently than you do, these are the results you should probably expect, I guess.