In era of racial unrest, Americans question the meaning of freedom

The crowds that typically flow into the District on Independence Day were markedly thinner this year — and often headed in different directions. Hundreds flocked to Black Lives Matter Plaza, while hundreds more ventured to the Mall for protests or to celebrate the nation’s founding.
The Debrief

For Trump, the threat now isn’t immigrants. It’s other Americans.

President Trump made clear that his reelection message will do little to try to heal or unify the country but rather aims to drive a deeper wedge into the nation’s racial and cultural divides.
Hundreds turned out at Gettysburg National Military Park in response to a threat to burn U.S. flags. (Andrew Mangum for The Post)
Hundreds turned out at Gettysburg National Military Park in response to a threat to burn U.S. flags. (Andrew Mangum for The Post)

Militias flocked to Gettysburg to foil a supposed antifa flag burning, an apparent social media hoax

On Independence Day, self-proclaimed militias, bikers and far-right groups flooded in — heavily armed and unaware, it seemed, that the mysterious Internet poster threatening to burn American flags was not who the person claimed to be.
Michael Hickson, 46, surrounded by his children, died in June. (Family photo)
Michael Hickson, 46, surrounded by his children, died in June. (Family photo)

Quadriplegic man’s death from covid-19 spotlights questions of disability, race and family

The disagreements over Michael Hickson’s care — amplified by an audio recording, widely shared on social media, of his wife pleading with a doctor to continue treatment — provide a rare window into fraught end-of-life decisions that are being made across the country.

Texas, Florida, Arizona officials say early reopenings fueled surge

Frustration has mounted among local leaders, who say they have had to grapple with conflicting orders and changing guidelines from governors and the White House.

The 17-member family that lived together, ate together and got coronavirus together

When Mukul Garg learned that one member of his family had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he immediately knew it was only the beginning.
(Adriana Usero, Allie Caren/The Washington Post)
The art of declaring independence | Critics At Home
The art of declaring independence | Critics At Home
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Stories You’ll Want to Hear

‘The Cursed Platoon,’ Part 2

1st Lt. Clint Lorance had been in charge of his Army platoon for three days when he ordered them to kill three Afghans on a dirt road. After a second-degree murder conviction, Lorance was pardoned by President Trump, hailed as a hero. His troops suffered a different fate.
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Historians question Trump’s choice of ‘heroes’ for national garden monument

Among the statues to be erected in the garden — spelled out in an executive order — are evangelical leader Billy Graham, frontiersman Davy Crockett and Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.
Analysis

Trump’s newest assault on public schools: They teach kids to ‘hate their country’

He is pushing a long-held GOP view that public schools are cauldrons of subversion where teachers mold children into being politically correct leftists.
(Clockwise from top left) Stevan Molinar, left, with two squad leaders in 2016; Frank Scafidi prepares for a mission in Vietnam; Lt. Col. Harry Lesher pins a First Lieutenant bar on Tom Knutsen in 1971; Victoria Chamberlin at the NCO academy in South Korea in 2014. (Courtesy of Stevan Molinar, Frank Scafidi, Tom Knutsen, Victoria Chamberlin)
(Clockwise from top left) Stevan Molinar, left, with two squad leaders in 2016; Frank Scafidi prepares for a mission in Vietnam; Lt. Col. Harry Lesher pins a First Lieutenant bar on Tom Knutsen in 1971; Victoria Chamberlin at the NCO academy in South Korea in 2014. (Courtesy of Stevan Molinar, Frank Scafidi, Tom Knutsen, Victoria Chamberlin)

We asked veterans to respond to The Post’s reporting on Clint Lorance and his platoon. Here’s what they said.

Many said they were moved to tears reading about the experiences of 1st Platoon. Others questioned how the soldiers could blindly follow orders to shoot at civilians.
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President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at the beginning of a meeting in Helsinki in 2018. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands at the beginning of a meeting in Helsinki in 2018. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Trump silent on Putin amid uproar over alleged Russian bounties

The possibility that Russia paid militants to target U.S. forces — and that the president received reports about the activity but did little about it — has revived allegations, particularly among Democrats, that President Trump is loath to confront Russia.
@PKCapitol
Analysis

Hard-hit industries clamor for regulations during pandemic

Business interests see a short-term battle against two hard-to-influence forces: individuals acting irresponsibly and a Trump administration reluctant to lay down guidelines that would mandate individual behavior during the pandemic.
A statue of Henri Francois Xavier de Belsunce de Castelmoron, a bishop of Marseille known for his fight against the 1720 plague. (Emilienne Malfatto for The Post)
A statue of Henri Francois Xavier de Belsunce de Castelmoron, a bishop of Marseille known for his fight against the 1720 plague. (Emilienne Malfatto for The Post)
Visual Story

The site of Europe’s last plague escapes the worst of this pandemic

As France emerges from its coronavirus lockdown and life returns to almost-normal, the historic port city of Marseille considers itself lucky.
Demonstrators march Wednesday in Sanford, Fla., to protest a Seminole County order requiring the wearing of masks in response to the spike in coronavirus cases. (AP)
Demonstrators march Wednesday in Sanford, Fla., to protest a Seminole County order requiring the wearing of masks in response to the spike in coronavirus cases. (AP)
Analysis

Coronavirus will undermine trust in government, ‘scarring body and mind’ for decades, research finds

Two new studies find that people exposed to pandemics in their formative years carry psychological scars for the rest of their lives.
(Adam Glanzman for The Washington Post)
(Adam Glanzman for The Washington Post)
Ohio State players celebrate after a victory over Michigan in November. (AP)
Ohio State players celebrate after a victory over Michigan in November. (AP)
Perspective

It’s time for black labor in college sports to demand new ground rules

Coaches and teams must understand the worth of athletes not just as cogs in the multibillion-dollar college athletic industrial complex but as citizens in the human race.
(Video: Spencer Compton via Storyful; photo: Spencer Compton/Reuters)

Columbus statue in Baltimore toppled, thrown in Inner Harbor

Video on social media shows the statue being pulled down. The incident occurred as President Trump spoke critically of recent incidents of vandalism in speeches Friday night at Mount Rushmore and Saturday night at the White House.

A Confederate statue is toppled in rural Maryland, then quietly stored away

Amid protests of racism and inequity, a family removes Confederate symbols from its ferry business and wants nothing more to do with the attention they brought.

Eleven-year-old fatally shot in Southeast D.C. starred on youth football team

Davon McNeal was shot in the head on Cedar Street SE, next to the Frederick Douglass Community Center in Anacostia, police said. He died at a hospital.

Medical assistants, cooks and cleaners also face risks on covid-19 front lines, but with low pay and little recognition

Beyond doctors and nurses, many others help keep medical facilities running during the pandemic.
From left, director Spike Lee with cast members from his film “Da 5 Bloods,” Isiah Whitlock Jr., Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters and Norm Lewis. (David Lee/Netflix/AP)
From left, director Spike Lee with cast members from his film “Da 5 Bloods,” Isiah Whitlock Jr., Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters and Norm Lewis. (David Lee/Netflix/AP)

11 things to watch to better understand America at this moment

Watch "Da 5 Bloods," "I Am Not Your Negro," and other films and TV shows that offer poignant examinations of race in America.
The cast of “The Baby-Sitters Club” poses with original series author Ann M. Martin, center, on the set of the new Netflix show. (Kailey Schwerman/Netflix)
The cast of “The Baby-Sitters Club” poses with original series author Ann M. Martin, center, on the set of the new Netflix show. (Kailey Schwerman/Netflix)

‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ was always progressive. Now, Netflix’s version is empowering a new generation.

For all its feel-good wholesomeness and nostalgia, Netflix’s “The Baby-Sitters Club” echoes its fresh-faced stars’ calls for a more equitable world.
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(Tom McCorkle for The Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Post)
(Tom McCorkle for The Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Post)

Chill out this summer with pina coladas, frozen Irish coffees and other blended cocktails

Dust off your blender, because it's about to get a workout.
Grand Prize winner: Redwood National and State Parks in California. (Sam Jezak)
Grand Prize winner: Redwood National and State Parks in California. (Sam Jezak)

If you can’t get to a national park, appreciate their beauty with these 11 photos

The National Park Foundation launched a special edition for its 2020 photo contest. Here are last year’s winners.
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