Happy Birthday, America!

On July 4, our nation will commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence some 241 years ago. We look forward to time off from work, parades, cook-outs, baseball games, concerts, Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating contest and fireworks as we celebrate the birth of our great country.

From the very beginning, the celebrations of Independence Day included fireworks. Some think that John Adams started it all in a letter he wrote to his wife. In the letter, he stated that the occasion should be commemorated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

As far back as 1777, Philadelphia put together a full day of festivities that included a parade, dinner, music, musket salutes and fireworks.

Fireworks are magical; explosions of bright colors, shapes and sounds lighting up the night sky as young and old alike watch in awe. They are the grand finale for the day’s celebrations. Fireworks are also dangerous.  Think about it. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, fireworks were involved in an estimated 11,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2016. And according to the National Fire Protection Agency, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, resulting in numerous injuries and an average of $43 million in direct property damage. This doesn’t even include the adverse effect they have on pets. If you are a pet owner, you know what I am talking about. 

Remember, it’s only fun until someone gets hurt. Leave things to the professionals. Be smart, be responsible and be safe.

And, amidst all the festivities, please take a few minutes to remember the real reason we celebrate this day – our freedom and all of those who fought and still fight to preserve it.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Posted by MJ Thomas

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