We seem to have dodged a washout bullet for Independence Day celebrations here on the Outer Banks. The 3” or so of rain we got last night seems to have wrung the moisture out of the air and if the newest forecast holds everything will go off as scheduled.

With all the festivities planned, it’s not possible to pick out a favorite, but that’s ok. In fact, that’s how it should be. Whether watching the fireworks over the sound tonight at the Whalehead Club in Corolla or Manteo tomorrow evening, or sitting on the beach and celebrating our nation’s birth in Kill Devil Hills or Nags Head tomorrow, it’s all a reminder of the extraordinary gifts this country has given us.

Seeing visitor’s come from all 50 states, from cities as large as New York, Philadelphia or Washington, DC, then greeting guests who hail from small towns in Ohio or Kentucky—all of it is a reminder of the diversity yet unity of the United States.

As a people, as individuals, we rarely agree on so many points. We are taught that if we disagree we are to speak up, to use that basic right that so many people do not have, to voice our opinion; yet that ability to disagree is at the very heart of our greatness and is the very thing that unites us.

And it is ultimately why as one nation and one people we stop on this day to celebrate something unique in this world—the birth of the United States of America.