tour de fourth.Etour
rs cting w,
By STEPHEN HERSHI
Special to The Daily
j.ASHillNGT()N, D.C. -One thing the
nation's capital has in common with
An Arbor is that it's herd as hell to find
sltre to live here.
I diso"ered that right away.
At first I thought that all the apart-
ments had been snapped up by people
wanting to live in Washington during the
Bicentennial year. It turned out, though,
that the housing shortage is permanent.
If you're coming to town to work you
have to scramble to find a home no mat-
ter what year it is. And when you're try-
ing to find a place to live, the historic
buildings off on the horizon and whatever
beauty there is in them don't make the
situation any easier.
What if I didn't ever find a place? In
the back of my mind lurked the dreary
thought of having to spend the Fourth
holed up in a crowded hotel with some
tourists here to see the fireworks.
_IFAYBE THIS TIME there will be more
than just the ordinary kind of fire-
works to greet them.
Holed up in an office located in the
busy Dupont Circle area of the city, the
People's Bicentennial Commission (PBC)
is planning what it says will be a huge
demonstration on the Fourth, protesting
the power of big business in this coun-
try. They're pushing for what they call
Yeah, fireworks. While PBC hopes, prays
and officially estimates that several hun-
dred thousand bleary-eyed kids will descend
on the Capitol at nine-thirty tomorrow
morning, the local cops claim they'll draw
maybe fifty thousand at most.
True, there's no substamtt, b
national issue to draw people to
But fssr someone who's sirs s
shittesrsnapping tourists with in
and gtideboiks, chomping an chep cig
anod wcaritng bermuda shorts .or a
one wirho's seen tidal waves of then s
up the CIpitol steps, it doesn't take i
much of a stretch of the imagination
picture a crowd of several thusiitd yOs
people swarming into the city.
A ND WHAT IF IT got ot of lir
There they'd be storming tho tt
of the Capitol building, overturning tabh
beating up Exxon oil lobbyists, grabbi
telephones to make free long distance cas
knocking down statues of Benjamin Frat
tin, stealing pens...
Then we might see Petersburg Ali 01
again. The city would rock with a ia
of strikes. Barricades could be set I
The city could fall - or, one might sa
be liberated - bit by bit, street I
But no, that won't happen. There w
be any revolutions this year. Just fii
works - the old fashioned kind. A Fret
company that's been in the explosion b
ness for hundreds of years is going
be putting on the biggest spectacle et
put on in America.
According to President Ford's press
fice, the old boy is going to spend :
evening of the Fourth watching the fI
works from his window in the White Hou
And he'll probably have a wonderful tit
If all that patriotism shit that those I
publicans espouse isn't just a mask ti
put on for the media, Ford will, w
gazing out the window, be looking ba
rapturously on our 200 years of histo
Bicentennial birthday suits
Meanwhile, back here in
By MIKE NORTON sion's motto this year reads, 'Let's Rediscover Ourselves."'
Others look at the Bicentennial from a broader perspective.
F YOU WANT to be literal about it, we Midwesterners were Jackie Greenhut of the Cobblestone Farm Association, a group
never in on the American Revolution to begin with. dedicated to the preservation of local landmarks, is one of them.
While redcoats and rebels snarled and sniped at each other - "We celebrate the Bicentennial," she says, "not as Michi-
back east, this part of the country slept on - quiet under seas ganders or Virginians or New Yorkers, but as Americans.
of waving grasses and tall trees. Only the copperskinned First What we're celebrating is the foundation of our nation - the
Americans (and an occasional trapper or two) roamed the placing of the cornerstone for our form of government."
silent wilderness. You don't find any famous battlegrounds or
Shrines of Liberty this far west of the Atlantic.
And with all the furor going on in the original thirteen
states, all the massive rallies and parades, it's not terribly
hard to get the feeling that you're missing out on The Whole
Thing, stranded in the boondocks where nothing ever happened.
Still, hundreds of Midwest communities, large and small,
are preparing to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Revolution
this weekend. Unable to attract the tourist hordes with monu-
ments or momentoes, they have turned their eyes inward, in
stead: to examine their own unique contributions to America,
to revel in their Midwestern-ness.
SOME local officials, like Wystan Stevens of the Ann Arbor
Bicentennial Commission, are attempting to put most of
the emphasis on local history - whether it had anything to do
with the Revolution or not
"We've tried to Ruse this occasion as an opportunity to
explore our own historical roots," says Stevens. "We'll be keep-
ing the whole celebration very low-key. In fact the Commis-
1HERE ARE always two facets to an event like this- it has
both its quiet, formal side and its ecstatic side. Each of
them will have its day in the Ann Arbor celebration, which be-
gins this afternoon and and will continue until tomorrow night.
Today is the day for decorum.
"You might call Saturday the serious half of the celebra-
tion," says Greenhut with a little smile. "The solemn half."
It begins this afternoon at 2 o'clock with the official dedica-
tion of Cobblestone Farm, an 1844 structure which the city is
turning into a historical museum. Cobblestone Farm and near-
by Buhr Park, both on Packard Rd., have been designated as
the official city site for the Fourth of July celebration.
Mayor Albert Wheeler will open the ceremonies with the
reading of a proclamation, and a group of Bach High
School students will read from the Declaration of Independence.
Lest this should seem too somber by itself, the Farm As-
sociation will be holding an "old-fashioned ice cream social"
with ice cream and lemonade.
See MEANWHILE, Page 10
Mike Norton is a Daily Copy Editor and retired cornhusker.