August 1st 2020 when Covid-19 killed the fireworks and sparked my gratitude


Photo courtesy of Katia Papa. One of her happy places, Flims Laax Region (Sardona) canton Grigioni (Grisons) in spectacular Switzerland.


Swiss National day, a rare day when the nation comes together to overtly express national pride. In my 2018 post I provide details on the origin of this holiday, celebrated since 1891, August 1st is a fixed day off on Claudio’s calendar. Imagine his surprise when he discovered, after taking the day off, that there will be no fireworks this year.

It seems that the coolest country, in reference to calm in any state of emergency, has cancelled, nationwide, its traditional fireworks celebration due to the Corona virus. So instead of the usual crowds in the streets, boats in the lake, and open revelry, there will be individual celebrations with prudence requested. I do wonder how this will go.

What I do not wonder is where I would have wanted to be in this time of scaremongering lockdown in a worldwide pandemic. Tune into any news about the ‘situation’ and if you are in Switzerland you are sighing relief. Along with a handful of other nations, while in some ways altered, living through this time in Switzerland is relatively painless. The super organization and national image of calm lends itself to such crisis’. There were never shortages, and a feeling of safety permeated my world here in Paradiso.

A few days ago my Mom called, “Are you still considering coming to Florida in January?”, she asked.

Hesitantly I responded, “Well, that is six months away Mom, and as things are looking right now even if there were flights to the US, I am not sure I would get on one.”

Mind you, I am not scared of the flight, or even of getting ill. What I am concerned about is the overall mood in the USA at this time. Contrasted with the relative calm of Paradiso, Switzerland. My gratitude to my home country is unbending, and I am beginning to feel the same for my adopted country as well. In fact, it is very likely that even without the fireworks, this may be the most patriotic 1st of August in my 13 years living in Switzerland. Patriotic being the American in me, as any self-respecting Swiss would hardly use this word!

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