Celebrate independence this year

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Recent reports that several southwest Missouri cities have been forced to eliminate their annual Fourth of July celebrations should give all local residents one more reason to be thankful that they live in Barry County. Not only do we have access to at least four different annual Independence Day celebrations, but all of these events are offered completely free of charge to all who plan to attend.

Local residents who would like to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display without paying hundreds of dollars should plan to attend either the annual Fire and Thunder Fireworks display in Shell Knob on July 4, or the Fired Up and Smokin' fireworks show in Eagle Rock on July 3. The Shell Knob Chamber of Commerce and the Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Fire Department spend many hours collecting donations for these annual celebrations, which never disappoint spectators. Both of these shows are held on Table Rock Lake allowing families to view the brilliant displays by either land or water.

Families can also choose to attend the Seligman Chamber of Commerce's annual Fourth of July celebration on July 4, or the Ridgley Baptist Church's Freedom Celebration on July 5. These events will offer games, food, musical entertainment and, of course, fireworks displays at dark.

No matter which Fourth of July event you choose to attend this year, or even if you opt to celebrate at home with your family, take time to remember the meaning behind this annual holiday. It was on July 4, 1776, that John Hancock originally signed the Declaration of Independence. The document was signed by many others later that year. The adoption of the Declaration founded the United States of America and started the Revolutionary War, which cost many Americans their lives.

As we head out to celebrate Independence Day this weekend, we should all take a moment to remember those who have fought, and continue to fight, to ensure that we all have the opportunity to celebrate our freedom in the future. Not only are we all very lucky to be Barry Countians, but we are all lucky to live in a country where we have the right to cast a vote in a fair election, the right to speak our minds in public and the right to celebrate holidays in any way we choose.

Happy Fourth of July!

Lindsay Reed