Letters to the Editor: How to celebrate July 4 this year? It's complicated

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LOS ALAMITOS, CA - JULY 4, 2020: Southern California residents sit on the roofs of their vehicles to watch the fireworks during the Drive-Up 4th of July Spectacular at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base during the coronavirus pandemic on July 4, 2020 in Los Alamitos, California. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)
People celebrate Independence Day by watching a drive-up fireworks show in Los Alamitos on July 4, 2020. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: My parents' Bulgarian friends all experienced variations of the same story coming to the U.S.: fleeing the brutality of their country's communist government and building new lives as Americans. Lucky for us, the "kids," we got front-row seats soaking in a uniquely passionate perspective on politics.

In the early 1970s, my mom's brother was allowed to visit the United States. One evening, family friends were invited to meet Uncle Georgi. As usual, it didn’t take long for the conversation to shift to politics.

At one point, I looked over at my uncle; he was white as a sheet. Everybody gently assured him that no secret police would haul us to jail. My dad grabbed a book off the shelf and showed my uncle the Bill of Rights; he pointed to the 1st Amendment.

It was then that I realized the Constitution isn't a dusty parchment, but rather a living document whose guaranteed protections are ingrained in Americans' lives.

Lord knows America isn't easy. It will always be a work in progress, because that's how it is with democracies. Two hundred forty-six years ago, the colonial delegates were sweating bullets in their wool coats in Philadelphia's July heat. Thank heaven they pushed ahead with a brazen plan to create the United States.

It would be governed by its people, who would have the freedom to shape their own destinies.

Danielle Karson, Pasadena

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To the editor: After the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, I am not feeling particularly free this Independence Day. The thought of millions of American women in red states being denied bodily autonomy is truly nauseating.

Flying the California flag is my choice today, and I'm going to take the year off from celebrating Uncle Sam. Feel free to join me, fellow Californians.

Liz McNabb, Costa Mesa

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.