If you were out in the city last night you may have noticed the Empire State Building was lit up in red, white, and blue lights—and it’ll be lit up again tonight for the Fourth of July.
Tonight, Macy’s Fourth of July week-long “surprise” firework displays will come to an end with a grand finale that will be televised, and the Empire State Building will be lighting up alongside the spectacle for the holiday. While most years the fireworks and ESB tower lights only happen on the Fourth of July itself, this year has been a bit different due to the pandemic.
What was only supposed to be a few nights of sporadic firework displays across the five-boroughs, Macy’s turned their firework displays into a week-long spectacle so all boroughs would be able to see fireworks this week without having to congregate in one location to watch on the Fourth of July itself. The Empire State Building has also lit up this week in red, white and blue for the holiday, but will once again light up tonight as the backdrop for the firework finale.
Lights and fireworks aside, what July 4th has historically symbolized can’t be ignored. Although this is at present time still considered a national holiday, it’d be tone deaf to not acknowledge the difference between the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the end of enslavement in the U.S. on Juneteenth (June 19, 1865).
Today, it is important to remember that while “Fourth of July is the first great fact in [the] nation’s history,” as Fredrick Douglass once said, it does not mark the freedom for all in our country.
See also: 5 things to know about the historic American holiday, Juneteenth.
Also published on Medium.