No matter who you are, it’s likely that this July 4 th holiday is going to be different from previous ones. Independence Day is still on the calendar for July 4 — but this year’s holiday marking the nation’s birth won’t look like past celebrations.

On the advice of health experts, most people will avoid the traditional parties and large gatherings — and grand fireworks displays have been canceled. While it’s still hard to believe the state of things related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have no choice but to adjust. We know it’s a disappointment; however, this decision was made out of concern for our community.

To say that Independence Day celebrations in Southern California will be different this year due to COVID-19 is an understatement. Things have changed for the nation as we react appropriately with precautions and slow down our lives. This disruption can bring an excellent opportunity to reflect on the holiday and what it means to us in 2020.

We celebrate our independence from Great Britain on July 4, but we also celebrate our strength, ingenuity, and our optimism. More than 245 years ago, the creation of the United States of America was a risky proposition; no one was sure it would survive to become the foremost nation on the planet.

In 1776, the Americans achieved an unlikely victory against their mother country, Great Britain, which was the most powerful empire in the world. With doubtless fear in their hearts, the founding fathers showed unity, bravery, strength and an unimaginable optimism to go on and form the USA.

In many ways, we are still those people of 1776. We are a nation that is unrivaled in terms of ingenuity, continuity and strength, and a population that takes pride in who we are and what we have accomplished. Survey after survey ranks Americans as the world’s most patriotic people on the planet.

More people immigrate to the USA than to any country in the world; I am one of those lucky immigrants. The appreciation for this country and what it has afforded my family and me, is more than I can describe. I know that, as a people, we can overcome difficult times — even with a pandemic, social unrest, a struggling economy, and the related uncertainty. Our common thread is our determination, our willingness to work hard, and our optimism. We’re American, and that’s what we know.

While the holiday will look different, America and our nation’s strengths are what I’ll celebrate this year. As I spend a quiet holiday with my family, I wish all of you a wonderful Independence Day weekend. I remind you to be safe and stay optimistic that we’ll get through these tough times.