Editor’s Note:

Originally posted two years ago, on July 4th, 2018, we are re-publishing Cecilia Ford’s sobering essay, “Celebrating Independence Day in a Divided Nation” as it implores us to reflect on “what America stands for,” “what are American values,” and “what does it mean to be an American citizen” — questions that are equally relevant today as our nation is embroiled in another tumultuous, but defining moment. 


The fourth of July is usually a lighthearted holiday. Fireworks and barbecues abound as leisurely three or four-day weekends allow us to unwind with family and friends. Rarely is there much discussion of the meaning of the occasion, for it has been clear: we celebrate freedom and independence. These two values, once universally agreed upon, bind us together as a nation.

This year, it no longer…

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