Once again it’s time to celebrate our nation’s birthday with “bonfires and illuminations,” as John Adams suggested on July 3, 1776. Today, the bonfires and illuminations of 200 years ago have become community celebrations, parades, sparklers and fireworks – but the reason for celebrating remains the same.
The best description for why we should never stop lighting those sparklers on the Fourth of July was given by Thomas Jefferson in 1826. His words explain why communities all across America should never stop putting on fireworks displays or holding Independence Day celebrations.
He said the celebrations of the Fourth light the world with a signal that can move others to recognize the rights of man and should be a reminder to each of us of the blessings and security of self-government and the free right of reason and opinion. “For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”
As writers, the 4th of July is the day we should refresh our recollection of our glorious freedom to write whatever we wish without fear of punishment - a right others around the world do not share.
So, whether you attend Coeur d’Alene’s big fireworks display; march down Maine Street as part of Spirit Lake’s Fourth of July Parade; head out to the Stateline Speedway Demolition Derby for a smashing good time; or choose to stay home to enjoy the spectacle of America’s grandest Independence Day concert on your TV, be sure you take a moment to tell your kids, or just remind yourself, why the Fourth of July is a day of celebration.