“When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars… then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars... This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius... harmony and understanding; sympathy and trust abounding; no more falsehoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions; mystic crystal revelation and the mind's true liberation.” ~ Fifth Dimension 'Hair' Aquarius
'Happy Independence Day' by Michael Rupured picks up at the end of ‘No Good Deed’, with Terrance in college and Harold, Phillip's most recent charge, just graduating from high school. The most important things in Terrance's life are to graduate from college and go to law school so he can be in a position to help the oppressed gain independence and respect. At this stage of his life, nothing is more important than achieving those goals. At least, that was the case until he sees Cameron, a handsome, rugged-looking young man across the room in the Stonewall Inn.
For Harold's high school graduation, Philip and his lover, George, give Harold and his best friend, Abigail, a trip to New York City and tickets to see the musical Hair. One of the things Terrance promises Harold is to take him to the Stonewall Inn, a rather run-down establishment, but, other than the token police raids that take place regularly with advanced notice, a safe haven of sorts for homosexuals. The police are paid off by the mob for this courtesy. Harold and his friend are in awe of all the sights and sounds they never would have experienced otherwise. Men dancing together, drag queens in full regalia, women dancing together, holding hands, and drinking, another “courtesy” secured by bribes, since it is against the law to serve liquor to homosexuals.
Cameron can't imagine anyone wanting to be with him in his current circumstances, especially a handsome young man like Terrance. Yet, when Terrance finally approaches him, he can't resist. A chance to be with Terrance is something Cameron doesn't want to miss. When Cameron and Terrance leave, they entrust Harold and Abigail to the care of his friends, Kremma De Kropp, drag queen extraordinaire, and Terrance’s lesbian buddy, Kelsey. It never occurs to Terrance that anything out of the ordinary might happen. However, he is wrong. It's a hot Saturday night and the club is more crowded than ever. When an unscheduled police raid takes place and the officers go beyond obligatory harassment to deliberate destruction of their safe haven, the crowd becomes hostile. Their backs are pushed up against a 'stone wall', and for the first time, they come back fighting.
Michael has done a great job of bringing the characters from the first book into the present of this story. Terrance may be the focus with his love interest being Cameron, but woven in with their romance are real historic events. Michael's writing is smooth and evenly paced. Even though I knew what would take place, I still couldn't put the book down. When I heard about the riots back in 1969, I was appalled that it took violence to achieve change, but I remember thinking: “It's about time to call for some respect.” Thanks, Michael, for the brilliant portrayal of Stonewall's legacy.