The Fourth: Fireworks, fun, and freedom

Independence Day is a great day to celebrate the history, government and traditions of the United States. A great day for family fun, good food, patriotic programs, favorite music and fireworks.

Just a few days ago, the Daily News reported that the City of Middlesboro would again sponsor Fourth of July fireworks. So, the tradition continues to the delight of young and old.

In that same story, plans were outlined for a July 6 special event honoring military veterans. The Bell County Chamber of Commerce announced that in this inaugural event, Vietnam veterans in the tri-state area will be honored in a 4 p.m. parade on that date.

These local events mirror the celebrations across the country, echoing the spirit and tradition that started in 1776.

John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and the second President of the United States, forecast the observances almost 250 years ago. He wrote his wife Abigail that the Declaration of Independence “…will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.”

He also wrote that “…it ought to be commemorated…by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

Middlesboro and the tri-state area will focus on the traditions that include tributes to those men and women who have served their country to keep freedoms alive. Special programs at the national level, heavy on entertainment by some of the nation’s great talent and on spectacular fireworks displays, will also honor our veterans.

“A Capitol Fourth” will continue its 39-year tradition of celebrating our nation’s independence on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol Building. The concert pays tribute to our men and women in uniform with a unique appearance by the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band and host John Stamos. The special airs on PBS on the Fourth from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

“Macy’s Fourth of July Special”, now in its 43rd year, may be seen on NBC Television between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. It too will feature performances by some of America’s top musical acts. The West Point Band and West Point Glee Club will be among the entertainers.

The week ahead offers almost endless opportunities for patriotism to be on display. From your home, your hometown, the nation’s capital, and beyond the celebration can be contagious. Join with family and friends in a salute to Old Glory and respect for and thanks to our military men and women on the Fourth.

William H. Baker is a native of Claiborne County and former resident of Middlesboro. Email: wbaker@limestone.edu