Warren Gerds/Extra! Of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’


PHOTO: American flags fly at Breakthrough Fuel, the former Milwaukee Road railway station, in Green Bay. Warren Gerds photo

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Lanford Wilson play “Talley’s Folly” that’s currently running at Sturgeon Bay is set on July 4. That’s not by whim or accident. Things in a Pulitzer Prize-winning play are done quite on purpose. The play got me thinking.

July 4.

What is it?

It can be flags.

It can be bands.




Those are things. July 4 is more than things.

July 4 in parts of the world other than the United States is the fourth day of July. That’s pretty much it. Another day.

July 4 in the United States is Independence Day.

It marks the day in 1776 that we expressly said to England, “That’s enough. We’ve had it with you and your pushy ways. We’re grown up and can do things on our own. We declare our independence from you.”

And that put in motion a noisy, messy, verbal wrasslin’ match to come up with a Constitution that expresses us and our ideals and laws that set us apart from the rest of the world. When I travel to other parts of the globe and come back home from experiencing other takes on what is life, I always feel and often say, the U.S. is the best.

So July 4 is a day to celebrate. We take time off to do so every year. Back in 1776, folks celebrated the day like crazy. We still do a pretty good job of it. We may not always have the reason for the celebration at the front of our mind, and that’s okay. That’s part of being free.

Which brings me back to the play. It’s set on July 4 because in it is a declaration of independence. The playwright employs the date to express something without saying it out loud.

July 4 in the rest of the world is a date.

July 4 in the United States of America is a great symbol.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.

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