Guest Column: celebrating our nation's independence

by State Sen. John Eklund Published:

Independence Day celebrations often consist of parades, barbecues, family reunions, concerts and late night fireworks displays. Millions of Americans take part in such festivities each July to commemorate our independence as a nation. We gather to remember those who fought to win our freedom over 200 years ago, while honoring those who still fight to maintain our freedom today. It is fitting that we do so, and I am sure our Founding Fathers would agree.

On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that the onset of our nation's freedom "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."

Amen to that.

Independence Day was first observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. However, the day was not officially declared a holiday until Congress did so on June 28, 1870. Upon its establishment, the holiday was designated on the Fourth of July rather than its original date. Celebrations of Independence Day have taken place for more than two centuries, but the traditions have held true throughout the years. Organized firings of guns and cannons have become less commonplace than in the 19th century, but still continue. Fireworks displays have been around since the beginning.

In celebration of Independence Day, local communities are organizing various special events for the upcoming weekend. In Portage County, the city of Aurora has a 1-mile and 5K Fun Run at 8 a.m. at Bicentennial Park and their fireworks display is at 9:45 p.m. at the Pioneer Baseball Fields. On July 5, in downtown Kent there will be the "Heritage Festival with Fireworks" with games, children's activities and free live entertainment and fireworks at dusk. Please feel free to check out the following link for more July 4 festivities in the northeast Ohio area:

http://northeastohiofamilyfun.com/4th-of-july-events-in-northeast-ohio/

Enjoy this special time with your family and friends. Commemorate our "day of deliverance" with thanks; solemnize it with celebration; and please be safe while you do.

Email: Eklund@ohiosenate.gov

Phone: 614-644-7718

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