"The second day of July, 1776, 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."
Actually as we all know, we celebrate our country's independence on the fourth and not second day of July. But the above words, written by future President John Adams to his wife way back in 1776, resoundingly resonate today like deafening fireworks on Independence Day. Mr. Adams was surely dead on predicting the pomp, parade and other stuff.
There will be no shortage of activities for local residents celebrating July 4th. Much like the recent Salem Super Cruise, Independence Day-based activities are right here at home and free, save for snacks. Take advantage of it - with your family, friends and neighbors.
A head start on celebrations begin today. Memorial Park will be bustling. Crime Watch is again hosting its annual National Night Out, which serves as the group's only fundraiser. It will begin at 4 p.m. The Arby's Cruisin' Crew will be involved this year, with Gene Johnson providing the music and a car cruise taking place at the park.
A Barney Fife lookalike and his 1963 Ford will visit from Mayberry again Aut Mori Grotto clowns are expected to appear at 5:30 p.m. Hot dogs, chips and drinks will be available for purchase. Available will be blinky necklaces and glow necklaces for when it gets dark. There will be a petting zoo.
The night will end with the city's annual fireworks display by Pyrotechnico Fireworks Company of New Castle, Pa., funded through donations solicited by Mayor John Berlin and his administrative assistant Debbie Bricker. The fireworks will begin when it becomes dark tonight.
The recently-rescued Fourth of July pet parade and kids' decorated vehicles parade will be held Friday. The pet parade is at 10 a.m. followed by the decorated vehicles parade, which can include bicycles, tricycles, wagons or other kid-sized vehicles. The parades will be held on South Broadway, starting at the Pershing Street end and continuing to the State Street end.
Even if you don't have a child or grandchild involved it's always a delight to see children -and sometimes even their pets - dressed for the July 4th occasion in red, white and blue.
And at 2 p.m. Friday the annual Parade of Boats will be held on Guilford Lake. Right down the street in Columbiana a full schedule of July 4th activities awaits starting at 8:30 a.m. in Firestone Park. It will be capped at 10 p.m. by a Phantom fireworks display. Other nearby communities also have their own events planned. John Adams would be pleased.
And speaking of our country's second president, some interesting facts about the Fourth of July. How's this for an amazing coincidence: both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to later to serve as presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
Another founding father, our fifth president James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, becoming the third consecutive president to die on a July 4th. Years later, 30th president Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872 - the only president born on Independence Day.
The most common yet strongest thread running through our nation's fiber is our independence. That is the way John Adams and his fellow founding fathers meant it to be. Enjoy the holiday and appreciate your freedom. With all the Constitution bashing going on nowadays it is even more significant. Stress that to your children and grandchildren.
Have a wonderful July 4th and entire "three"-day weekend. The weather is expected to cool off which will be nice. Please be safe too with any home fireworks around kids. That should be a no-brainer. But year in, year out we get reports of fireworks-related tragedies. Don't let it happen to you.