Celebrate the Fourth, but stay safe and remember why we celebrate

Published 2:40 pm Friday, July 2, 2021

Today, few who celebrate the Fourth of July give little thought to why we observe the birth of our nation’s independence. Even fewer remember why we take a holiday to fly the American flag and eat heartily.
Freedom and independence in this day and age are taken for granted. We have always known freedom, enjoyed it, and know nothing about living in captivity.
Without a doubt, we would be hard pressed to find a statesman today like Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, who laid the groundwork for independence with thoughts from his flowing pen.
Some would argue that Americans now lack the moral fortitude that prompted Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to light the fuse that led to America’s struggle to stand alone, to stand free.
Yet, since July 4, 1776, hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their blood and their lives to preserve the freedom and independence of this land. The sacrifices they’ve made are also too great to fathom.
Yes, we have reason to celebrate, not only freedom, but summer, work, and family.
Certainly, we have many reasons to spread our wings, enjoy the sunshine and even gather with a small, select group of family members and friends during the holiday weekend.
After all, it’s been one heck of a year with the pandemic putting a halt on our lives. But with variants of COVID-19 spreading, the threat of more infections and deaths have health officials concerned. So, we should still maintain protocols established by the CDC including wearing masks, keeping safe distances from others and being sure you and those around you are fully vaccinated.
Many Americans plan to take to the roads for the long weekend, anxious to get out of their homes and enjoy the fresh air. Others will hold small cookouts in local parks or in their backyards. And in many places, there will be parades or fireworks displays.
During the July Fourth weekend, we typically see an increase in fireworks-related accidents. We remind citizens that shooting fireworks in the City of Elizabethton is illegal. If you want to see fireworks, go to a community fireworks display such as the one at the Covered Bridge Saturday night.
While fireworks are illegal in the city, they are not in the county. Therefore, we encourage citizens to be safe while shooting fireworks. Children playing with fireworks don’t need to lose a finger, an eye, or their lives.
No matter what your plans, we urge citizens to remember to be smart and to be safe.
But, we also remind you to take a moment to think of freedom, what it means to be free, and to live in a land of plenty.
Despite it frailties and inequities, America remains the symbol of free and independent people throughout the world. America remains strong in spite of those who question its exceptionalism.
And America remains strong because Americans recognize freedom isn’t free.