Originally Published: July 4, 2018 6:05 a.m.
This is the day for picnics and entertainment events. (We’d say fireworks, but we will get to that later.)
People celebrate the Fourth of July with great enthusiasm, but we seem to have become more attached to the means of celebration than what Independence Day commemorates.
Back on July 4, 1776, community leaders in the 13 colonies made some tough decisions. They were fed up with laws and taxes imposed on them without their participation or consent. They were tired of soldiers garrisoned in their towns and sometimes in their homes.
Simply put, they were willing to risk everything they had acquired and accomplished to sever their ties with England, a move that certainly would lead to war with what then was the most powerful nation on earth.
Those people had reached a point where nothing mattered to them more than the freedom to decide their own destiny. It was a concept so vital to them that they were willing to risk all they had and to pledge their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to fulfill.
Some of those who put their names to the Declaration of Independence indeed gave up their lives and fortunes.
Eventually they won us the freedom we enjoy today, to see the summer movie we want to see, to assemble peaceably with friends for a picnic, to criticize our government – even protest on the courthouse plaza – and to work where we choose to work.
We never should be too caught up in exercising our freedom that we forget where it came from or how much it cost.
That said, we entered today with three municipalities having canceled their fireworks shows. It is not unpatriotic, but common sense — we’re told based in scientific data. All we know is the rain gauge is bone dry and the fire danger is at peak levels.
The Fourth of July still can be spent in the park, backyard or, even, at the Rodeo Grounds for the finale of the 131st annual Prescott Frontier Days, the “World’s Oldest Rodeo.”
We continue to be subject to Stage II Fire Restrictions, as part of which you can barbecue with a propane grill (not charcoal).
We can gather — even to protest, like folks did downtown Saturday, June 30, about immigrant parents separated from their children.
And, we can celebrate our nation’s birth. Just do it all responsibly and respectfully of others.
Happy Fourth of July.