July 4 marks the 241st anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. For many of us, it is a time to step back, take a breath, and enjoy some downtime with those we love most.

Maybe people still understand that this is actually a historic occasion, but we can talk about that another day. I’m ready to get in the pool. Thanks, founding fathers!

Unfortunately for us in Dallas, there is another somber day that we are obligated to remember: July 7, the day of the downtown mass shooting that left five police officers dead.

Over the days that followed, the city was shaken, but there was also a palpable feeling of coming together and showing the world that hate did not represent who we were.

Of course, our intellectually-deficient lieutenant governor tried to squeeze in a little hateful rhetoric, but he was quickly condemned by all sides. Poor Dan would have to stay in the background while the true leaders stepped up.

Police Chief David Brown, who had nearly lost his job months before, emerged as the voice of reason we never knew we had.

Presidents Obama and Bush both took the stage during the public memorial and offered inspirational words. They recognized the nation’s need for them to stand united against this cowardly, violent act. One of the most lasting images of the memorial service was Bush and Michelle Obama holding hands, swaying side to side as the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” played on. If they can come together, why can’t we?

And then it was over. The nation’s attention returned to the most polarizing election in history (or at least since the one before). Divisive rhetoric ruled the day, and random shootings were becoming the norm.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a gunman open fired on a group of congressmen practicing baseball. The country was appalled, but not particularly surprised.

The way our leaders, and more importantly, our community, came together last summer gives me hope, but the fact that we all moved on so fast is disheartening. We say that we want to tamp down the hate, address our problems, and find more common ground. The question is, will any of us ever make that happen?

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