This is my 10th Independence Day in Tehachapi. Growing up in Ridgecrest, I love the familiar small town Americana we enjoy here that I remember from my youth. There was something different this year, I’m not sure the words freedom and liberty have ever meant so much as we navigate these sometimes frightening and uncertain times.
My neighbor across the street serves in the military out at Edwards Air Force Base and was excited to celebrate his son’s first birthday with his first of many firework shows (someday he will have to break it to him that the show is not part of his birthday celebration). When the show was canceled in consideration of public safety, I was disappointed, but understood that we must be thoughtful and responsibly navigate the impact of this very real and dangerous disease. Alas, I was sad to see my neighbor not enjoy the show with his young family, that in many ways would honor his contribution to the legacy of this holiday.
I was humbled and comforted that like so many moments in this crisis, we found a way to celebrate our family traditions and create holiday memories in a way that was creative but reasonable in a quickly developing situation. My faith reminds me that like the spectacular fireworks that lit our night sky, there will be light in the dark. We must be faithful to work together and take care of one another, but there is a path to something beautiful.
In the end, the city of Tehachapi was able to safely deliver the fireworks show to the community who paid for it and perhaps more than ever needed it. This was an example of engaged and nimble government using common sense and good judgment in real time to best serve their constituency.
I love that in most years we welcome other communities into our town to enjoy our fresh mountain air and quaint small town charm, but like so many other experiences lately, this was an opportunity for something small and sweet. To just step outside and enjoy a simple and quieter version of what often has become a stressful holiday ordeal. There was no planning, traffic or hurry up and wait. Just our arms around our children in our own front yard looking up at the big sky we all share, reflecting on the majesty that is the American experience.
Christina Scrivner is a councilwoman for the city of Tehachapi.