Fourth of July

Fairbanks, for as long as I can remember, knows how to celebrate the Fourth of July.

I remember the US Army band playing patriotic music in front of the Riverboat Nenana as flags of each state caught the breeze over Alaskaland’s Whiskey Island and Crooked Creek Railroad track.

Fairbanks' weather in July is usually perfect for Independence Day celebrations.

Alas, this year flags are not waving nor bands playing. We turn on the news to see protests nationwide.

We are faced with a virus without a vaccine, loss of summer tourists, and masks to try to keep the virus off our noses.

“These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Thomas Paine, 244 years ago published these words in the pamphlet "The American Crisis," Dec. 19, 1776. If I remember my history correctly, we got though that crisis and many more since. In fact, Mr. Paine went on to wisely articulate: ‘Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.’

We will get through the current crisis together, discover a vaccine for COVID-19, welcome our tourists back next summer along with the Army band, learn from our imperfect history. This difficult time will pass.

As long as we remember:

"ALL that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Fairbanksans are good people. Have a happy Fourth of July 2020. Wear your mask.

Charlie Dexter is a professor of applied business emeritus at the UAF Community and Technical College. He can be reached at This column is brought to you as a public service by the UAF Department of Applied Business.