Let’s hear it for National Night Out

By Suzzane Striker

I lived in Tampa at the time of the first shuttle lift off. My roommate and I went to witness this historic event taking place in our own backyard. We went over about a day and a half early to scope out a good place to view the spectacle and to visit Cape Kennedy. We were even fortunate enough to see the astronauts board their bus on their way to the launch pad.

We hurried over to the causeway and once again lucked out in securing an awesome place to park with a full on, straight view of the launch pad. This location was only half a mile from convenience stores, restaurants, and, most importantly, restrooms.

We had come fully equipped to ‘car camp’ with enough food to eat for a week. The entire area was packed with people. A full representation of every possible kind and combination of American humanity had come together for this event.

One of the things that I observed in this huge collection of humanity was that, for all the people present, there was almost no liter. Everyone helped to keep the trash picked up. What impressed me, however, was how amazingly well everyone got along with one another.

Launch time was on and off again all throughout the night. The three guys in the van next to us partied all night and crashed when the count down to launch was officially at T-minus 5 minutes. We all had a good laugh about them having come from such a long way and then snoozing through the lift off. We beat on their van door and they came stumbling out just in time.

When the lift off finally happened we all screamed from the very depths of our souls. I yelled so loud and hard my vocal cords hurt and I had to stop. Usually in a crowd of screaming people there’s a voice or two that stand out. But when I listened all I heard was one deafeningly loud, unified voice. There was not one individual or distinctive voice in this crowd. I heard American Harmony.

I loved that feeling of American unity and I loved getting out and meeting my American neighbors. National Night Out is Tuesday, August 3rd from 5-7 pm. Although, due to heat and summer vacations, our community holds a ‘Neighborhood Night Out’ in October (as does Texas) I would like to encourage everyone to become part of our American neighborhood and participate in National Night Out.

If your block is not having a party then just step out of your home and say hello to your neighbors, preferably ones that you have not yet met. Give us a call and we will be happy to say “howdy neighbor”. Call your friends throughout the states and encourage them to plan parties in their neighborhoods. This could become a ‘virtual’ block party. There may not be a moment of collective, unified National scream, but we can all reach out to one another from 5-7 pm on August 3rd and become a collective National neighborhood.


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