Most days, Americans remain divided along a number of fault lines; political beliefs, religion, skin color, income and so on.

On Thursday, though, on Thursday, for one brief shining moment, we once again were the united states of America. It was a glorious feeling on a glorious day, the birthday of this great nation.

Sure, there still was some grousing and complaining. CNN continued to go after President Donald Trump.

For the most part, however, it was a day to unite in celebration of a country in which we are free to disagree, allowed to criticize our leaders, permitted to protest publicly.

On Thursday, the only fireworks we saw illuminated the night skies. Crowds gathered in New York and Washington and Philadelphia, they gathered in College Station and in Kurten to play games, dine on all-American hot dogs and hamburgers, eat watermelon and enjoy ice cream and lemonade, sing songs, hear patriotic music and ooh and ahh over the sparkling fireworks as the day drew to an end.

Those crowds gathered along the National Mall, beside the Hudson River, around the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, at the Foxfire subdivision triangle, beside the Kurten Community Center. They gathered together, black and white and brown, young and old, of many faiths, gay and straight, rich and not so rich, Republican and Democrat. The people laughed and visited one with another despite any differences, obvious and not. They were happy, they were proud of America, they love their country and want the best for America as we move forward.

Despite numerous complaints about the cost and the appropriateness, President Donald Trump spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, rightly paying tribute to the men and women of our armed forces. Perhaps his appearance wasn’t necessary to our July 4th celebrations, but his message surely was. He expressed the gratitude we all should feel toward our military. We were able to celebrate the nation’s 243rd birthday thanks to the sacrifices made by our soldiers and sailors, Marines and Air Force personnel over the centuries. They should be praised and honored on July 4th — and, for that matter, every day we exist as a country.

Our hearts filled with pride as we watched the aircraft of America’s military fly around the Washington Monument and over the Lincoln Memorial.

Things were back to normal on Friday — at least the “new normal” that is so devastating to America. We once again were at each others throat, divided Democrat from Republican, white from black, Christian from other religions. President Trump was back to attacking everyone he considers his enemy. Democratic challengers for his job returned to criticizing the president and each other.

Unfortunately — sadly — that is to be expected anymore. Such is life in an America divided.

But remember, for a few hours on July 4th, we truly were the United States of America.

And it felt good.

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