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The American Dialogue: Discussing our hopes, fears, and dreams
Contributed by Batavia’s Roger Breisch
As former chair of the Batavia ACCESS Fireworks Committee, the 4th of July has been an integral part of my life for many years. I have come to love that special day for what it is...and what it could be. As a day of celebration, it’s hard to top...a time for picnics, family gatherings, parties and, of course, fireworks.
However, I have thought a great deal about what it could be. I often fear we take our freedom for granted; we have forgotten how to reflect on the responsibilities of living in a free democratic republic.
In 1998, a group of Batavians resolved that the 4th of July would be an ideal day to invite fellow citizens to discuss our hopes, fears, and dreams for the community, nation and the world. That vision became a reality as we convened the first annual 4th of July American Dialogue, on the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
As we approach the twentieth American Dialogue this coming 4th of July, it remains my dream that, for this one morning, we can put aside the day-to-day issues and talk with one another about what is truly important to us...and future generations. I am hoping to hear what younger citizens see looking forward...and what our elders see looking back. We live together in a community...I wonder if we know how to live together as a community.
In 2017, the nation and the world often seem torn asunder by deep divisions in beliefs about today and the future. I have always loved Batavians for our ability to come together around our divisions and move into the future with greater mutual understanding. I am hoping we can do that again this coming 4th of July.
From 8:30am (coffee and bagels at 8am) until 10:00am on the 4th of July, everyone is invited to gather at Batavia City Hall (100 N. Island Avenue) discuss hopes, fears, and dreams for the community, nation and the world. All are welcome!