Other than the fireworks, it is a quiet day for most of us here in the United States. We need this annual holiday to remind us that, despite the very American tendency to complain about the direction our country is headed, we enjoy some of the best living conditions in the world. My curmudgeon credentials would be forever tarnished if I did not use this opportunity to remind people that while our founding fathers declared their independence on July 4, 1776 they needed many more years of war, struggle, and political conflict to truly secure it. Liberty is and always has been a fragile thing. If you think otherwise you have not been paying attention in history class. So if you have a quiet moment between parades, ball games, picnics, and fireworks, I encourage you to go online and get a copy of James D. Best’s book, Tempest at Dawn. This very well researched novelization of the Constitutional Convention will show just how close the entire experiment came to failing. The reasons were much the same as the conflicts that divide us today. Best presents the signers as real people, with real life problems — not as supermen sent down from some divine mountain with wisdom of another world. They got through their crisis. We will too. End of public service announcement from the curmudgeon club. Please return to your previously scheduled activities.