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Happy birthday to the United States of America

“The second day of July, 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” — John Adams to his wife, written in 1776.

Resolution for independence from the British Empire and creation of the United States was voted on by the Second Continental Congress and approved July 2, 1776 with final approval, after debates and revisions, made two days later. Hence, the Fourth of July as the official birthday of our nation.

Our nation officially turns 244 years old today. Enjoy it and enjoy what it stands for and has always stood for: freedom and independence from tyranny.

There usually is never a shortage of Independence Day activities for local residents. But this year that tyrant COVID-19 wrecked things including planned public fireworks displays. Of course this likely means — given the reports we have heard regarding a big uptick in consumer fireworks sales — even more than usual the number of reckless idiots haphazardly shooting off fireworks. You know it will happen and what else would you call them? Morons, maybe? They set off fireworks with kids and pets around. It happens every July 4th holiday. Often fueled by alcohol. Just ask emergency room personnel, plastic surgeons and vision specialists. And how bogus is that legal form Ohioans sign declaring they will take purchased fireworks out of state before using them? You know, chuckle, because it’s a law and all that stuff.

So we go without public fireworks. A bummer but not end-of-the-world stuff for sure. Heck we’ve been sacrificing all kinds of things since the virus arrived in March.

One event that isn’t canceled is the annual Parade of Boats. It will be held on Guilford Lake this afternoon at 2 p.m. If you have never seen it, you might want to consider it. You will see some pretty cool decorated and colorful boats sailing on a lazy, hazy summer day. You will see some imagination put into the efforts of the boaters. Take a picnic basket. It is suppose to be sunny again.

Regardless of what you have planned today enjoy it. Enjoy — and appreciate — your individual freedom. Nothing is perfect and neither is our country. Given all the unrest and tumult of the past few weeks we need a holiday break. Step back and exhale. The United States of America remains the finest nation in the history of mankind. Not too bad.

The most common yet strongest thread running through our nation’s fiber is our independence. That is the way John Adams and his fellow founding fathers meant it to be. Enjoy the holiday and appreciate your freedom. With all the Constitution bashing going on nowadays it is even more significant. Stress that to your children and grandchildren. Make sure they understand what the words “Declaration of Independence” represent.

Speaking of Adams, our country’s second president, here are some interesting facts about the Fourth of July. How’s this for amazing coincidences? Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to later to serve as presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826. Another founding father, our fifth president James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, becoming the third president to die on a July 4th. Think about it. Three of our first five presidents died on July 4th including two on the very same date. A coincidence or pre-destiny? Our 30th president. Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872 — the only president born on Independence Day.

According to accounts, when Jefferson was nearing death he called for family and friends around his bedside and with a distinct tone uttered: “I have done for my country, and for all mankind, all that I could do, and I now resign my soul, without fear, to my God, my daughter, to my country.”

After falling back asleep, Jefferson later awakened at eight o’clock that evening and spoke his last words: “Is it the fourth yet?” His doctor replied, “It soon will be.”

On July 4, at ten minutes before one o’clock in the afternoon, Jefferson died at the age of 83 –the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence — and a few hours before John Adams, whose own last words were, “Independence forever” and “Thomas Jefferson survives.”

Let us indeed pray the our independence will always remain forever in this nation, our nation, the grandest of all nations. Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy your freedom and embrace strongly the history behind it. Do not drink and drive. And if compelled to indulge in fireworks, be sober and responsible.

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