Jennifer Anne Martin
Goodbye Miss 4th of July
Goodbye Miss 4th of July. A drama seen on the Disney channel in 1988 based off a book that followed the plight of an immigrant family from Greece in West Virginia. It covered topics of racism, freedom, and courage beautifully. With Independence Day tomorrow and the sad state of our country, I couldn't help but think of this film.
I watched it as a young girl. I can't even remember the last time I saw it, but its images are burned into my head. A cross set ablaze on their lawn by the KKK, a rock with a threatening note thrown through the window, their friendship with the black ex-boxer who lived nearby, the Miss 4th of July contest, the young protagonist's fight against the flu.
It seems an odd film for the Disney Channel to air in the late 80s, but this was also before Disney Channel became what it is today. It was a "pay" channel and we could only watch it on the "free" weekends. They only showed movies. Or miniseries - Anne of Green Gables was another favorite of ours from the time - and it just seemed like their programming was elevated - better than the regular TV channels. It made you think. (Ok, maybe not Mousercise, but its other shows.)
This film is no exception to making you think. It was the first film I remember seeing that tackled racism and introduced me to the KKK. Living in a northern Midwestern state, I've been fortunate not to see their hatred fist hand. Though I know it's not far from my doorstep. Especially with the political atmosphere in our country today.
As we look forward to the 4th of July festivities with our families and friends, let's remember those who are separated from their families trying to find a better life in a country that promises freedom, and, at one point, was a melting pot. While we celebrate freedom, those leading the country seem to be taking it away.
So many of us come from families much like the Greek family in Goodbye Miss 4th of July, and we all need to remember that. On this 4th of July, remember those who fought for America, and remember those who'd die to become an American. Don't take your American status for granted - we are all privileged to live in this country, no matter how screwed up it seems today. We have the freedom to elect our officials and we need stronger turnouts at the polls. Exercise your freedom. The freedom so many men and women have fought and died for. Everyone can make a difference, but they must take a stand as well.
I wish you all a safe and happy 4th of July. God Bless America.