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Chamber gets it right on Fourth of July

| May 29, 2020 1:00 AM

The easy thing to do would have been to simply hang out a big sign:

Fourth of July Festivities Canceled

Come Back Next Year

(Please)

Or this:

Fourth of July Festivities a Go

Everything is Normal

(Pretend)

But Thursday, the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce executive board did not do the easy thing. Weighing the most important factor of all — public safety over public relations — the full board of 25 community business leaders voted unanimously for one half of the region’s massive Independence Day celebration and not the other, far more treacherous, half.

The decision took guts and wisdom.

Few things bring out our indivisible national spirit more than a great big party on July 4, but this year must be an exception. With a longer route to accommodate social distancing, the Chamber is forging ahead with the parade and accompanying festival in the park. A full day of fun under conditions that are at least somewhat manageable is assured for the thousands who still are likely to show up, wave their flags and cheer — primarily locals.

Those of us a little more on the senior side, those with compromising health conditions? We would be wise to skip the festivities this time around.

As for the fireworks, canceling the tourist-luring lightshow with thunder is obviously the right thing to do. Each year, not only are tens of thousands of people blanketing almost every square foot from the north side beaches and City Park over to McEuen, but many are toasted — and not just by a day in the sun. Alcohol in mass quantities is part of the celebratory equation, and that’s a dangerous mix, particularly with a potentially lethal virus on the loose.

Nothing is more tempting now than dipping one foot in tradition and the other in optimism, and a great day in downtown Coeur d’Alene on the Fourth of July is an ideal antidote for much of what ails us. The Coeur d’Alene Chamber has found a way to accomplish this safely. For that, our star-spangled gratitude will just have to fill the night sky.