With A Midweek Holiday, Marking A Revolution With Moderation

Jul 4, 2018
Originally published on July 4, 2018 6:10 pm

It's July Fourth! Parades! Cookouts! Fireworks!

It's also a Wednesday in the middle of a work week. Deciding whether or not to take time off can be a summer dilemma.

"It's just confusing," said Tom Leoni, a volunteer firefighter in Boston. "Do you take a couple days before or after? It's confusing."

Thiago Manso, a waiter, ended up taking two days midweek.

"Even, like, my job doesn't know what to do," he said. "They don't know if they should give us off like on a weekend or the middle of the week or last weekend."

Steve Spadt, visiting Boston from Philadelphia, took the whole week off.

"I only have to take four days off, and I get a five-day vacation," he said. " It's a good deal."

But there are many not celebrating.

"Aww, miserable," said 40-year-old truck driver Kevin Healy, who needs to save his vacation days for Christmas. "No partying 'cause you gotta work the next day. It's ridiculous."

Some business owners, such as general contractor Matt Tripp and architect Bill Whitlock, have their own complaints. Because staff didn't show up, they lost a week of productivity.

They'd like to see lawmakers ensure that Independence Day is always a long weekend — not a week.

"It should be like Thanksgiving, first Friday or Monday of July, every year," Tripp said.

Whitlock thinks that move would get a lot of voter support.

Down the street at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, people are reenacting a different grievance. Tourist traffic here was light Monday and Tuesday, but Executive Director Shawn Ford is counting on things picking up at the end of the week. Either way, Ford says, the holiday should not be changed.

"You gotta celebrate the Fourth on the Fourth," he said. "[It's] our nation's birthday."

But love it or hate, the Fourth of July won't fall on Wednesday again for more than a decade.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

OK. It's nothing compared to what our Founding Fathers had to contend with, nor does it compare to the weighty issues facing our country today. But, still, when the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday, celebrating can become a serious summer dilemma. NPR's Tovia Smith has more.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: With the Fourth of July barbecues and fireworks smack in the middle of the workweek, what's a worker to do?

TOM LEONE: It's just confusing for the week. You know, you take a couple of days before or after. It's confusing.

THIAGO MANSO: Like, even, like, my job doesn't even know what to do because, like, they don't know if they should give us off, like, at a weekend or in the middle of the week or last weekend. So, yeah.

SMITH: It's a mess.

MANSO: It is, definitely.

SMITH: Tom Leone (ph), a volunteer firefighter in Boston, and Thiago Manso, a waiter, ended up taking two days midweek. Steve Spadt, visiting Boston from Philadelphia, took the whole week.

STEVE SPADT: I only had to take four days off, and I get a five-day vacation.

SMITH: Bonus.

SPADT: It's a good deal.

(LAUGHTER)

SMITH: Everything's on sale on Fourth of July, right?

SPADT: That's right (laughter).

SMITH: ...Even vacation.

SPADT: (Laughter) That's right.

SMITH: But there are many not celebrating.

KEVIN HEALY: Aw, miserable.

SMITH: Forty-year-old truck driver Kevin Healy says he needs to save his vacation days for Christmas, so he has to miss the Fourth this year.

HEALY: No partying because you got to work the next day. (Laughter) It's ridiculous.

MATT TRIPP: Dreadful. Dreadful.

SMITH: Some business owners, like general contractor Matt Tripp and architect Bill Whitlock, have their own complaints.

BILL WHITLOCK: Productivity - we basically lost a week, easily.

SMITH: Because staff didn't show up.

WHITLOCK: Yeah. They're not here.

TRIPP: We're all that's left.

SMITH: They'd like to see lawmakers ensure that Independence Day is always a long weekend, not a week.

TRIPP: It should be like Thanksgiving - first Friday or Monday of July every year. I think you'd get a lot of voter support.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character, yelling) Huzzah (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Yelling) Huzzah.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) All together on the count of three, we're going to dump this tea into the sea.

SMITH: Down the street at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, tourists are re-enacting a different grievance.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) One, two, three - over the side. Huzzah.

SMITH: Tourist traffic here was light on Monday and Tuesday, but Executive Director Shawn Ford is counting on the end of the week.

SHAWN FORD: We hope it's coming. We certainly do hope it's coming.

SMITH: But either way, Ford says, the holiday should not be changed.

FORD: You got to celebrate the Fourth on the Fourth.

SMITH: Because it's significant that it's...

FORD: Our nation's birthday.

SMITH: Love it or hate it, the Fourth of July won't fall on Wednesday again for more than a decade. Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.