Fourth of July celebration
One of the summer highlights for my family, when we lived in Cape Girardeau, was going to Arena Park on the Fourth of July to witness the spectacular fireworks displays. After serving in the Air Force, I came to understand the saying "Freedom has a price." Now, thanks to Cape's city fathers, I am aware that patriotism has a price, too: $10,000. Apparently, from their point of view, expressing pride in our nation has to be justified by dollars and cents.
For decades, the celebration of the Fourth, in every community large and small, proved witness and testament to the struggle that we, as a nation, had to endure to achieve our liberty. Most towns, regardless of size, organized parades with horse-drawn floats, decorated with red, white and blue bunting, with someone representing Lady Liberty and Gen. Washington to greet and salute the crowds they passed.
On a village's common grounds or a church's picnic area, tables were set up where celebrants could enjoy ice cream, shaved ices, fruit drinks, watermelon and soda waters while waiting for a turn on the merry-go-round or a local dignitary to recite the Declaration of Independence. And then came the fireworks. The perfect coronation. An echo of the battles our Founding Fathers fought to gain our freedom.
Have we fallen so far that expressing our patriotism is a mere matter of economics?
I salute the USA Veterans for continuing a cherished tradition. Shame on the city of Cape Girardeau.
STEVE PARSONS, Marble Hill, Mo.