A message from the July 4 grand marshal
Last updated 7/10/2021 at 9:26am
Looking back on my Edmonds childhood, some of my happiest memories are summertime moments: chasing shade and guppies in the creek next to our house on Brookmere Drive, getting lost on purpose in Yost Park, and watching the 4th of July parade.
I remember marveling at the "pioneers of Edmonds," who seemed so ancient as they rolled by – never imagining that someday, deep into the 21st century, our town's kids might look at me the same way.
For the last 40 years, I've spent my summers in Europe, researching guidebooks and making my TV show – and throughout those decades, I've been homesick every 4th of July. This summer, the pandemic has kept me away from Europe – but as a kind of Corona-bonus, I get to experience an "Edmonds Kind of Fourth" once again, and this time as grand marshal.
As a proud hometown boy, I'm giddy to be honored in this way – and as a patriot, I am grateful for the opportunity to celebrate our nation's birthday.
People ask me all the time if I plan to move to Europe someday – and the answer is always a firm "No way! I belong right here." All those travels have taught me how blessed, as Americans, we are.
But my travels have also taught me to appreciate the fragility of our blessings, and how much we have to take good care of. And travel has taught me that the world looks to America for leadership.
"America" is bigger than any policy or president or single triumph. America is an ideal: an ideal that invigorates a land where we can reach for the stars with our dreams and embrace life with gusto, knowing we are part of a society that honors and rewards passion and hard work – a land that defends the inalienable rights of freedom and dignity for all.
A strong nation, foundational institutions, and great communities like ours here in Edmonds, don't just happen. They are the legacy of people who contributed mightily to our society: heroes and leaders in big places and small places ... caring and principled Americans in big places and small places ... all the people who, for centuries, have woven the fabric of our remarkable society.
So, as we emerge from this historic pandemic, let's celebrate what America means. Let's celebrate the societal ideal of embracing democracy and good governance. And let's celebrate the importance of community – a community that takes care of its neighbors.
And as we celebrate America – the ideal of America – let's remember that the world looks on with a little trepidation, but with longing for a strong and principled America that will be the global leader that this planet needs.
This Independence Day, whether we are rich or poor, white or people of color, young or old, left or right, it's my hope and prayer that we can come together as Americans, engaged, caring Americans.
And as each of the fireworks light up our Edmonds sky, I will see them as a kind of communion, as all of us watching come together in this spirit of patriotism and caring citizenship – local, national, and global citizenship based on the ideals upon which our nation was founded.
And when I sing the anthems we sing each Fourth of July, those patriotic tunes will carry that wish.
Happy Fourth of July!