Independence Day is here. Can you believe it?

Time has a way of accelerating under the best of circumstances. During this pandemic, it’s been pedal-to-the-metal fast. Days and weeks become months in the blink of an eye, and here we are again — the middle of summer, in the middle of another year.

Here’s the good news, at least as I see it: This Fourth of July feels significantly different than last year.

In 2020, an air of cryptic caution hovered over our July 4 celebrations. We were told to have fun … but not too much fun. We were told to keep our masks on, and to keep our distance.

This year feels almost normal again — with “almost” being the keyword there. Maryland has lifted its state of emergency and most of the restrictions that came with it. That means it’s time to celebrate the Fourth, American style … but with an asterisk. The virus is still out there, after all, and as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said, “The battle’s not over.”

So be responsible, yes, but celebrate anyway … because we have so much to celebrate.

Think of how far our nation has come over the past year. We’ve sheltered, and pivoted, and innovated. We’ve done things that have never been done before. We’ve developed vaccines in record time, and protected untold millions of lives, and created a blueprint for how business will run in a post-pandemic world.

I’ll argue that we’ve been more American than ever.

And we couldn’t have done all of that without the heroic efforts of those charged with protecting our health, and our essential workers (including, yes, CPAs), our front-line scientists, those in the armed forces, and first responders who stand in harm’s way every day. We especially couldn’t have done all of that without the brave men and women who came before them to fight for and protect these principles and ideas that are uniquely American.

So celebrate. There has never been a better reason to celebrate. Do it responsibly, but recognize what this nation has accomplished … and will continue to accomplish going forward.

Have a happy, healthy, and glorious Independence Day!

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