This year, do the Fourth differently

Have you firmed up your July 4 plans yet? In all likelihood, there are fireworks, barbecues, time with family and friends, or combinations of all three on the agenda. This year, in a time of deep anxiety, disconnectedness, and political polarization, Independence Day can also be a time to come together in civic community for reflection and discussion. Here are a few ways to do just that.

Civic Saturday: Patriot Acts

July 4 is a day when we often wear our hearts on our sleeves. But patriotism goes beyond flag-waving and other outward displays, and it’s also too important to dismiss as old-fashioned or trite.
From March 27, 2021, here’s the full video of Civic Saturday: Patriot Acts, in which we discussed how to seek an American patriotism that meets us where we are and where we’ve been – and based on those realities, casts an imaginative hope for the future.
We invite you to gather with friends and family to revisit this gathering and, over some BBQ and cold drinks perhaps, to discuss this question:
What does a patriot look like to you?

Making Good: A Civic Sermon

Read or listen to Making Good: A Civic Sermonfrom our Oct. 23, 2021, Civic Saturday at Antelope Park in Lincoln (the sermon begins at 24 minutes, 40 seconds). 
In his remarks, Civic Nebraska’s Steve Smith discusses the American promise that was so powerfully made by the Declaration of Independence, and it continues to go off like an alarm across the generations – as more and more Americans turn to Thomas Jefferson’s call for equality in their pursuit of freedom and justice. Consider this reflection question:
What is one promise you will keep in the coming week?

Independence, Dependence, and Interdependence

Revisit our Independence Day essay from 2020, when the country was still in the vicegrip of COVID-19, popular uprisings for racial justice were in the nation’s streets, and a sudden new reality was redefining the American notion of independence. Those extraordinary days also reminded us that the United States began as a mutual aid, that we’ve always been in it “together,” and that when in the argument between forging on together and going it alone, we’ve tended to choose the former. 

Then, consider this reflection question:
Can we be independent, dependent, and interdependent all at once? Why or why not?  


This is a challenging moment for nearly everyone in our country. So it’s no surprise that Fourth of July brings up lots of conflicting feelings: pride and gratitude, cynicism and frustration, or just relief to have a day off.
So, how do we navigate this Independence Day? How can we spend the holiday doing something meaningful, intentional, and rejuvenating?
Here’s how: By designing a Fourth of July gathering to match the moment. Our friends at Citizen University have put together a special Civic Saturday just for this July 4 – it’s a framework for gathering and reflection on America’s biggest day. Here’s the official Gathering Guide so you can plan and make the most of your Fourth this year.
Then, continue the conversation on July 6 at 7 pm CDT. You’ll have the chance to share what Independence Day looked like to you and hear from others. Bring your group to connect with other dedicated and spirited Americans who are dedicated to taking responsibility and living like citizens!