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Happy birthday, America!

Although the Fourth of July now seems more of a party than a memorial, it has great significance to many Americans. And if you call yourself an American, the reasons for the celebration in the first place MUST be remembered and understood by ALL of us.

The Fourth of July is a chance to reflect on how far the nation has come since that hot day in 1776, when the founding fathers risked their lives and reputations on a dream for a new world. The enjoyment of picnics and fireworks was purchased with the Declaration of Independence, giving Americans a true and heartfelt reason to celebrate their nation’s birthday. 

On this day, we often celebrate by singing the National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and watching impressive displays of fireworks. While these shows are for entertainment, they are reminiscent of the bloody fight America had for its freedom and the chaos of the Revolutionary War. 

Fireworks have been a part of celebrations since they were first invented by the Chinese and then popularized in the West by the Italians. The earliest European settlers brought their love of fireworks to this country. Firings of black powder were used to celebrate holidays and to impress and intimidate the natives.

By the time of the American Revolution, fireworks had long played a part in celebrating important events. 

The very first celebration of Independence Day was in 1777, six years before Americans knew whether the new nation would even survive the war. Fireworks were an important factor in igniting the population to believe that they could indeed be their own nation. 

Fireworks have been with Americans since the nation’s very beginnings, and now more fireworks are ignited for the Fourth of July than for any other national celebration in the world. We must always remember the reasons behind those first fireworks.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July celebration! Happy Birthday, America!

* * * 

• Those who dare to deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. 

— Abraham Lincoln

• Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.

— John Fitzgerald Kennedy

• Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. 

— Thomas Paine

• Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. 

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

• Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one. 

— Benjamin Franklin

• Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. 

— Albert Einstein

• Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.

— Thomas Jefferson

• Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. 

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

• In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. 

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

• We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. 

— Declaration of Independence.

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