An Independence Day to Remember
Far too early on a national holiday, I was woken up by a text from friends across the pond.
Which may be my favorite Fourth of July greeting I have ever received.
But another message dragged me further into consciousness. The evening before I had gone to friend's jazz show, and following my usual habit, had fallen into conversation with my neighbors at the bar. Turns out we were here to see the same performer and had worked with a number of the same artists in our career. By the end of the night, we had exchanged info and I was invited along for their Fourth of July celebrations. On the 65th floor of the Empire State Building.
So armed with libations and snacks, off we went. I knew the performer, the couple I had met the night before, and not a single soul else. But in a surreal, iconic setting, watching fireworks fly out of the east river is the easiest way to come out of a group of strangers with new friends, contact info exchanged, and new stories to be told. It's the most important American value, one that it so often forgotten, but how we all identify first as neighbors, as friends, a unified front. It doesn't matter how long or how well we know each other, we're all screaming together as we feel the windows vibrate and watch the smoke creep uptown, cracking New Yorker jokes, and reveling in how we all got to be here, together, and remember what actually makes our country great.
Sometimes in this day and age, it's very hard to feel patriotic or proud of our country. There are so many injustices and terrible things occurring every day, but the people I meet who are still spreading kindness, fighting back, making sure we are still putting forth good in the world, they remind me who the real American people are, and who we are fighting for.
And why I still talk to strangers on bar stools. You never know where you might end up.