The Fourth of July brings a renewed sense of freedom to many Clark Countyresidents this year as they plan gatherings and celebrations not practical last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After last year’s stay-at-home orders mask mandates and social distancing requirements , Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine relaxed Ohio’s health order on June 2. This Fourth of July is a celebration of freedom and a return to normalcy following 16 months of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Springfield News-Sun asked local residents to tell us how they are feeling as the country celebrates another Independence Day.
For several residents, the pandemic offered a new perspective.
Experiencing a country shutdown awakened appreciation inside many for the American freedoms some say they previously took for granted.
Now, as Ohioans begin to recover from the pandemic, Clark County residents are looking forward to celebrating Independence Day as they have in the past, with family.
Springfield resident Amanda Larimore says freedom has a different meaning this year after the country shut down. For her, the pandemic brought the family closer together, but she feels it divided the country and community.
“I think we all have a much different outlook because everything had kind of been taken away and no one had really experienced that before, with a lot of freedoms taken away,” Larimore said.
This year, Larimore is looking forward to family cookouts and watching fireworks.
With the new Buck Creek Boom Fireworks display, Larimore planned to watch the fireworks in her backyard with her family.
Joseph Berrien and Aleeya Jones
Springfield resident Joseph Berrien, who is serving in the Navy as an Operations Specialist, First Class E-6 stationed in California says he is proud to be an American and is always serving his country.
To Berrien, freedom means the ability to live one’s life the way they want to.
“Freedom is choice,” Berrien said. “It’s an important time right now to have the ability to express yourself the way you want to.”
Berrien’s sister, Aleeya Jones, expressed thanks for the country opening back up and the new perspective the pandemic provided.
“When you are not able to do everything that you used to, you take a lot of things for granted,” Aleeya said. “Everything opening back up just shows all the freedoms we do have that most people don’t.”
To Lubbers, freedom means equal opportunity for all people and putting other people’s needs above her own.
Lubbers says the pandemic has given her the opportunity to care for others in the community and being able to show this generosity is one freedom she exercises.
To Mona Lloyd, being an American means embracing everyone for who they are and accepting those who are different. She also says living in America means living in an area of opportunity.
Lloyd is thankful for the country opening back up and the freedoms accompanying it. Lloyd plans to celebrate Independence Day on the lake with family and friends.
“It definitely gives a different perspective and makes me feel a little bit more appreciative for what we do have here,” Lloyd said. “Not having to wear a mask anymore or being able to be with your friends and family.”
Former Clark County Commissioner John Detrick says he feels extremely lucky to be an American.
“Your chances of being born in the United States are 5%, and it’s a blessing,” Detrick said. “It is truly a great place to live.”
He says freedom has a new meaning for him this year, especially after the pandemic.
“You feel like you’re a bird that’s just been released from the cage and I’ve had my shots and I feel safe about it.”
Detrick considers the U.S. the ‘‘greatest democracy to ever exist on the face of the earth’’ and looks forward to celebrating Independence Day with his children and grandchildren.
Clark Country resident Jim Stouffer says freedom means the ability to express opinions, own private property, and own (or not to own) tools for self-defense.
“My freedom is secured by the blood that has been and will be shed by our military forces,” Stouffer said. “Independence Day is the remembrance of the sacrifice of our soldiers from the revolutionary war to the present time, securing the freedoms that we enjoy today.”
Samina Ahmed, a Springfield local, often spends her time advocating for the Muslim community. To her, freedom means being able to freely practice her chosen faith.
“I am very fortunate to be an American and I am a proud Muslim-American,” Ahmed said. “In general, there are so many people who don’t have that [freedom]. I just feel so blessed.”
“This COVID-19 we got a taste of what could happen if you couldn’t freely roam around places. You realize what freedom really is. We took for granted the things that we had before,” Ahmed said.
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