Officials in Orlando, Florida, have apologized for a weekend newsletter post from the city council, which minimized the reasons for celebrating the Fourth of July holiday in America, reasoning the country had incurred too much "division" and "strife."
After receiving public backlash for the email blast, mocking patriotism, freedom, and Florida's well-documented heat and humidity, the city said it "sincerely regrets" the newsletter's "negative impact."
"We understand these words offended some of our residents, which was not our intent," the city's statement read. "We value the freedoms we have in this country and are thankful to the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for those. We take pride in celebrating the Fourth of July to express our gratitude to those men and women and honor the country we live in."
The tone of the apology is tangibly different from Friday's original newsletter post.
"A lot of people probably don't want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can't blame them," Orlando's City News read Friday. "When there is so much division, hate and unrest, why on earth would you want to have a party celebrating any of it?
"But in all seriousness, you know in your heart, Fourth of July fireworks are amazing, especially when you are standing in 90° heat, 100% humidity, next to 100,000 of your closest friends," the newsletter post continued. "In that moment, something takes over and we all become united in an inexplicable bond. Yes, America is in strife right now, but you know what ... we already bought the fireworks."
As part of the backlash against Orlando's city leaders, newsletter reader Spike Hopkins responded with this thinly veiled message: "Whomever wrote this I would like to let them know that I have a large pickup truck and will be willing to help them move out of this country at any time God bless the USA."
Other organizations have been critical of the newsletter.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 wrote that its members "are proud Americans who will continue to serve with courage, pride and commitment to uphold their oath to defend our community and this country. We do not share the same views as the City of Orlando and find their comments inflammatory and in poor taste."
Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, criticized the Orlando City Council for its negative attitude about this American holiday tradition.
"Oh, here we go," Pushaw tweeted Sunday. "The City of Orlando apologizes if you were offended by their attack on 4th of July. This is what happens when you elect Democrats, you guys ... they do not have the same view of America as we do."
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