Fourth of July

Guests enjoy fireworks at the Fourth of July carnival Thursday, July 4, 2019, at the State Fair Park in Yakima, Wash.

We’ve all been hearing it and saying it for more than a year now: When this is all over, we’ve gotta get together for the biggest party you’ve ever seen …

Well, this Fourth of July might be the blowout we’ve been waiting for.

State Fair Park’s president and CEO, Kathy Kramer, announced this past week that the Yakima Valley’s annual Independence Day celebration and fireworks show will be back this year.

“The last year has been tough for all of us, and we look forward to welcoming the community back to State Fair Park to kick off the summer,” she said in a statement.

The city of Yakima and Yakima County are paying for the fireworks, and State Fair Park is hosting the event, which is free to the public. Plans include a three-day carnival, live music and of course, truckloads of food.

Think of it as sort of a coming-back-out party.

After months of arguing over whose fault the pandemic was, why we should or shouldn’t wear masks and whether it’s safe to go to school or work, this year’s celebration seems like a fresh start. As the vaccines provide more and more people with protection against the COVID-19 virus, experts are cautiously coming around to the belief that life can start returning to near-normal.

And what feels more normal than marking our country’s 245th birthday?

Coming just days after the possible full reopening of the state, this year July 4 could represent our reclaiming of our freedom to travel, see our friends, enjoy live entertainment. It might even mean declaring our independence from Zoom meetings and mute buttons.

Fourth of July celebrations have always been rife with symbols. The flags reaffirm our commitment to a united, independent nation. The fireworks recall the lengths to which our forefathers went to win that independence in the first place.

The hot dogs, chips and beer don’t necessarily represent anything. We just include them because we’re Americans and we like to eat, OK?

This year, however, even the hot dogs will have special meaning — they won’t be arrive via Grubhub. And we’re betting they’ll taste even better than the pre-pandemic franks we had back on July 4, 2019.

So pull out your goofy Uncle Sam hat and get ready for some fireworks. Savor all the hot dogs you can eat.

But don’t forget what all those symbols stand for.

In new, unexpected and horrifying ways, we’ve all learned some valuable lessons in the past year about freedom, independence and being a united nation.

And despite it all, we’ve still got a country to celebrate.