WESTPORT — While the town’s Fourth of July fireworks display is canceled, First Selectman Jim Marpe is encouraging residents to celebrate the holiday with a sense of community, hope and some imagination.

“Although COVID has restricted our ability to gather, we can’t forget that the July Fourth Holiday is more than fireworks, parties, and picnics,” Marpe said in a news release on Thursday. “Instead, it can serve as an opportunity to reflect and re-direct the energy we may have spent in those celebratory rituals.”

He said residents can be innovative in how they celebrates this year while staying at home.

“Consider taking the time to acknowledge that all of our brothers and sisters, no matter their race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation or gender expression, deserve the same independence we cherish in Westport,” Marpe said. “While there are those who continue to struggle, we must learn from mistakes of the past and move forward in a concrete, firm, resolute manner to make the positive changes in our community that reflect the current conditions of this 2020 world.”

Marpe said he plans to show his love for Westport by committing to wear a mask, promoting social distancing policies, engaging in important dialogue and supporting local businesses. He also encouraged residents to continue showing their positivity in the #ilovewestport campaign.

“Whether speaking about phased and gradual implementation for reopening, to the difficult but necessary discussions about racism and policing, we are a community of resilience, a community of love and hope and a community of history with the means to affect true change in how we govern and interact,” Marpe said. “I look forward to gathering once again in the near future, with all the necessary steps to keep us safe and healthy, to celebrate our strength and fortitude, and to celebrate our independence.”

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com