Fire and night
In 1776, the Colonies’ Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia and collaborated for weeks to generate a single document. Over 80 edits later, the document was signed to declare, at least from the American side, an end to British reign over this new nation. We continue to commemorate this day with spectacular fireworks and a night of nation-wide camaraderie. On one such night several summers ago, I took this photo, long before the pandemic rocked the world and social issues rose to widespread awareness in the era of social media. I watched with more naïve eyes then; I have since seen public health crises wreak havoc in my own patients and raged against the seemingly insurmountable barriers of our healthcare bureaucracy. I have been disillusioned about the American dream, and I carry significant skepticism, as many do, about the integrity of our top institutions. Despite the frustrations, I do appreciate the beauty of America’s founding ideals: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The July 4th shows are a chemically, visually, and audibly powerful symbol of these guiding principles. In a time when countless topics of conversation can incite political debate and interpersonal strife, I think it is important to find common ground, unearth uniting priorities, and compromise like the Founding Fathers once did through each iteration of the Declaration of Independence. This summer, I will Muni over to the piers to see the bombs bursting in air for the next big birth date party of our nation. When they illuminate the San Francisco Bay, I will continue to feel a sense of pride in this country and gratefulness for all the work of my predecessors. Yet even more so, I will feel a fire inside to continue their work and do my part to ensure the freedoms and opportunities which I have enjoyed all my life reaches all people from sea to shining sea.