"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."
OK, so John Adams was off by two days. But the above words, written to his wife way back in 1776, resoundingly resonate today for Independence Day. Mr. Adams was surely dead on predicting the pomp, parade and other stuff.
There will be no shortage of activities for local residents celebrating July 4th. Much like the recent Salem Super Cruise, Independence Day-based activities are right here at home and free, save for snacks. Take advantage of it - with your family, friends and neighbors.
A head start on celebrations will occur Wednesday. Memorial Park will be bustling. Starting at 3:30 p.m., an array of fun and interactive events are planned. For the kids there will be a bounce house, petting zoo, face painting and pony rides. There will be a dunk tank and hand-crank trains. A car show is scheduled at 4 p.m. near the duck pond. Live entertainment is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with several musical acts performing. Mayberry's "Barney Fife" will be on hand with his 1963 Ford.
Thank the Salem Perry Township Crime Watch for the big day. It is called the National Night Out celebration. Then with darkness comes the fireworks show at Memorial Park. Thank a number of volunteers who provided funds to pay for the $8,450 show including the Salem Community Foundation and its $1,000 donation. Without this kindness there may have not been a fireworks show in Salem. That would be a bummer. Remember to bring your lawn chairs, blankets and childlike wonder of never getting too old for fireworks.
Thursday brings the annual tradition of parading pets and patriotic wagons, bicycles, tricycles and other children's vehicles along South Broadway Avenue. That will start at 1 p.m. Even if you don't have a child or grandchild involved it's always a delight to see children -and sometimes even their pets - dressed for the July 4th occasion in red, white and blue. And at 2 p.m. the annual Parade of Boats will be held on Guilford Lake. Right down the street in Columbiana a full schedule of activities awaits starting at 8:30 a.m. in Firestone Park. It will be capped at 10 p.m. by a Phantom fireworks display. Other nearby communities also have their own events planned. John Adams would be pleased.
And speaking of our country's second president, some interesting facts about the Fourth of July. How's this for an amazing coincidence: 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, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
Another founding father, our fifth president James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, becoming the third consecutive president to die on a July 4th. Years later, 30th president Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872 - the only president born on Independence Day.
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.