Many years ago when rifling through some photos in the Chamber archives I found one of the Fourth of July parade in Norwood probably in the late 50's (when we were the Norwood Chamber of Commerce). It showed a young woman riding in a convertible Cadillac with a sash across her front that said "Chamber of Commerce". There were many men walking along the vehicle, presumably Chamber members (the photo above is from a different year and is better quality). It reminds me of the connection that the Chamber has historically had with the community. For better or worse, the tradition of the Chamber marching in the parade has gone away, perhaps because as a regional entity we couldn't cover all the parades in our area.
Nevertheless, Independence Day does have a lot to do with local business. All the fireworks displays and parades that we will enjoy over the next few days cost money to organize. While citizens contribute to this, by and large it is local business that pays the bulk of the costs through their donations. They also supply volunteer help and trucks to support the floats that are so important to the parades.
Of course it is fitting that businesses step up for these events on the Fourth. After all Independence Day is also a celebration of the Free Enterprise system which allows our businesses to exist and thrive in the first place. We often take for granted the freedom we have to take an idea and turn it to something real that provides a needed product or service, puts people to work and pays taxes. It's this system that has allowed our country to be a world leader in innovation in so many areas, particularly right in here in Greater Boston. While there are certainly many who would argue that even more freedom from government regulation is needed for us to continue to lead the way, we are still far better off than in other parts of the world.
So while I hope you have a chance to "ooh and aah" at some fireworks, salute the troops marching in a parade, or just sit back with a cold drink and a hot dog surrounded by family and friends, remember that our Independence is what makes our business community strong and our business community is what makes these great events possible.
Have a great Fourth of July!
Tom O'Rourke, President and CEO