A tired and restless Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted on July 2, 1776 to approve a resolution of independence that was proposed by Richard Henry Lee.
Two days later, the Congress adopted the official Declaration of Independence and the famous words written by Thomas Jefferson were read aloud to the public: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
With brave voices, our Founding Fathers risked their lives and those of their families and friends to stand up against injustice and tyranny. Their actions and the resulting Revolutionary War would change the world.
To commemorate this courageous act of liberty, we celebrate Independence Day each July 4th.
As Southwest Michigan families join with their communities to honor America, I encourage everyone to make this celebration a safe one.
It starts with fireworks safety. Some simple tips are to closely monitor children using sparklers, keep kids and pets at a safe distance from fireworks and always have a bucket of water ready.
In addition to celebrating at parades and fireworks displays, many residents will gather together with friends and family for picnics or barbecues. I encourage keeping summer safety tips in mind, such as using sunscreen (especially on young kids), drinking plenty of water and being conscious of your surroundings.
While honoring America, please also remember how to properly care for the flag, including how to retire the flag if it is worn or tattered. The U.S. Flag Code says, “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way.”
Residents who need to retire a U.S. flag can contact the Boy Scouts or your local Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion post. These organizations often provide flag retirement services.
The Fourth of July is a joyous time to celebrate our freedoms, show our pride in our country and remember the declaration proclaimed more than two centuries ago that started it all.
I hope you all have a fun and safe Independence Day.