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On Our Nation’s Birthday, A 2020 Salute to Today’s Heroes

This week we will celebrate our nation’s birthday in an unusually suppressed fashion. Practically no parades, no gatherings to ooh and ahh over fireworks, no concerts in the park. Many of us will still don our “dad-aprons” and clutch our long forks in pursuit of our favorite summer grill fare. But festivities that accompany the mid-summer event will be decidedly muted.

Perhaps this July 4th offers an opportunity for reflection on what’s different and more worthy of the moment.

Our country was borne of sacrifice. The first patriots chose to dedicate their lives and even face death to secure liberty. Contrary to the beautifully penned introduction to the Declaration of Independence, that liberty was not for all, and we fought a bloody civil war to exorcise the demon of slavery. Countless American lives were lost to the hardships associated with building the country and enduring the devastation of the Great Depression. America offered everything she had during the bloodiest war ever and put an end to the fascism and oppression that authored World War II.

And I, well, won’t be able to pull a kid around in a wagon during our usual July 4th block party.

We are engaged in a tough time now as a country, courtesy of COVID-19. Tragic in many ways, but for most of us it’s still a lighter burden than some of those extraordinary chores of our forefathers. Our predecessors were asked to put their lives at risk to fight tyranny. We have been asked to be careful with how we engage people and do our jobs as best we can. We can do this.

This week major league baseball summer camps started, 97 days after what should have been Opening Day. NBA teams are gathering in Orlando. I have been following the saga of professional sports leagues as they negotiated and inched closer to resuming play. It took a while. Major league baseball missed an ideal window of restarting on July 4th. Our society has for years found respite from our troubles by following the exploits of our favorite sports teams. It seems to me we need this as much as ever, and I am hopeful athletes can muster the courage and selflessness to return to work as so many others are doing.

Indeed, this spring and summer a lot of Americans never stopped working or worked even harder. Throughout the pandemic, all of us have been blessed with steady availability of critical services and supplies. Medical professionals, first responders, energy providers, grocers and food manufacturers have not missed a day. I am more richly blessed to have the honor to work with an extraordinary team at Borden that has persevered through daunting difficulties these past few months. This team has taken more than its share of punches, has restructured our business and has emerged victorious to continue serving our customers and American consumers who depend on Borden and other food companies to keep their families healthy and well nourished.

So, my July 4th celebration is a salute to the folks who took up their mantle, came to work every day and kept America fed. And to my Borden family in particular, thank you for your inspiring work. You are the American heroes of 2020.

Have a happy and blessed Independence Day.