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We have a unique opportunity this Fourth of July

In all the rancor of the COVID-19 pandemic, the argument over whether or not to wear masks, the snide remarks about social distancing and crowd sizes, there is an underlying opportunity that Vicksburg and Warren County will have that hardly anyone will have over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The city of Vicksburg is moving forward with plans for its annual fireworks show over downtown Vicksburg.

This week, city leaders made some slight changes to the event, reducing the event to just two hours, eliminating public seating and encouraging residents to socially distance between one another and, if possible, watch the fireworks from inside your vehicle.

For an outdoor event that draws thousands of people each year, asking people to stay within their car is a strange request. Then again, this is a strange year.

To ask the public to socially distance themselves from each other and wear masks at an event that packs many public places in downtown Vicksburg is also a tough ask.

Then again, there are key words we need to remember here — opportunity and encouraging.

While other cities have canceled their Independence Day events because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Vicksburg has not, which gives us an opportunity.

It gives us an opportunity to show that events can be held safely, that requests to social distance will not be ignored, and that when in public, masks can be worn by a majority of those attending.

It is encouraging that city leaders are making this move and moving ahead with something that is a part of our normal calendar in a year that has been anything but. With so many things canceled this year, it is nice city officials have invested in something that does create a spark — both literally in the sky and figuratively to our local economy.

Our downtown merchants — much like the rest of the economy — have been hit hard by this pandemic and it is nice to be able to give them this at a time when it so badly needed.

Don’t let this opportunity slip us by. Come downtown, but do so safely and under the advice and recommendations of those who have taken this chance.