The City of Orlando was forced to backpedal over the weekend after releasing a controversial message about the Fourth of July that questioned why anyone would want to celebrate Independence Day.
What did the message say?
In a newsletter message released on Friday, the city questioned "why on earth" any American would want to celebrate their country and sympathized with people who refuse to celebrate America.
The message said:
A lot of people probably don’t want to celebrate our nation right now, and we can’t blame them. 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. 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.
The message immediately prompted backlash.
"We do not share the same views as the City of Orlando and find their comments in inflammatory and in poor taste," said the police union that represents Orlando Police officers.
"Yikes. City of Orlando, is this your official position on our country and on 4th of July?" reacted Christina Pushaw, spokeswoman for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Not everyone, however, was upset. In fact, many people, including Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D), thought the message was appropriate.
"Y’all do not need to apologize — your first email captured the tone of how many Americans (and Orlandoans) are feeling right now. It’s ok not to be ok," Eskamani responded to Orlando's official Twitter account.
How did the city respond?
The City of Orlando released a statement on Saturday implicitly apologizing for the earlier statement.
"The city of Orlando sincerely regrets the negative impact our words have had on some in our community," the statement said. "We understand these words offended some of our residents, which was not our intent.
"We value the freedoms we have in this country and are thankful to the men and women who fought and continue to fight for those," the statement added. "We take pride in celebrating the 4th of July to express our gratitude to those men and women and honor the country we live in."