The last few months have been an unusual and challenging time for residents of Eastern Ohio, the United States and the entire world.
An unfamiliar pathogen caught us off guard. Our responses to it have been varied. From heroic to rebellious, people have reacted to the threat in many different ways.
Fortunately, the local government entities and service organizations in our region have stepped up to the plate. They have acted responsibly, taking steps to help keep the new coronavirus from spreading. They also have found creative new ways to help residents mark special occasions without taking too many chances with their health.
Soon after we all were asked to stay in our homes as much as possible back in March, local fire departments, nursing homes and others began a new tradition — marking birthdays and other milestones with parades of vehicles. The drivers would decorate their cars and trucks and honk their horns like mad as they passed through the area of the celebration.
St. Clairsville leaders decided to stage a similar event to mark Independence Day. And that parade of vehicles and costumed characters is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to local observances of the Fourth of July.
Because crowds are not permitted to gather, a few private residents and several local governments such as those in Barnesville and Ohio County, decided to stage fireworks displays without providing a place for an audience to congregate. Instead, the shows were designed so that they could be seen from multiple locations, allowing people to watch from their homes or from public parking areas.
The Wheeling Symphony Orchestra decided to take its annual show on the road, since no gathering was scheduled at Heritage Port in the downtown this year. Free, half-hour performances at several locations throughout the city were planned.
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church opted to hold its annual holiday extravaganza online.
Bethesda will hold a fireworks display at dusk on July 12. Lunches will be sold at the fire station that day as well.
We applaud the creativity and effort that went into developing each of these plans. We also commend all of the organizers for making it a priority to celebrate our freedom, even when it may feel that our freedoms are limited by efforts to curb COVID-19.