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Monday, Jul 28, 2014
The Sun

Let’s celebrate July 4th by remembering it’s meaning


Published:

They’re laughing at me here at the chamber this week. Not that that’s unusual.

I’m updating a small sign to go on our front doors announcing we will be closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday. I’m a stickler for people understanding the true meaning and appreciation of our nation’s special days, so the sign will read, “We will be closed in order to celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence from England.”

No offense to our friends in Great Britain, but let’s face it. We didn’t declare independence from Sweden.

“Isn’t that a little wordy?” I was asked.

Perhaps.

But saying “Happy Fourth” just doesn’t do it for me. Fourth what? On that day in 1776, our founding fathers did what had never been done in history, and gave us a document that has never been written before or since by anyone. It has guided our country for 238 years and led us to be the greatest country on earth.

July Fourth is more than just a birthday party with cookouts and fireworks. It’s a celebration of the creation of the most unique country on this planet.

Not that I don’t love a great barbecue and wear all red, white and blue myself. I do – and I do it proudly. In fact, this year, I’m going a little overboard: flag-designed flip flops, flag-adorned tank top, navy shorts, plus red, white and blue star earrings and a matching necklace. I promise to stop short of the headband with pinwheel antennae. And I’ll make sure to eat a hot dog, since that is – or should be – our national food.

Here’s what is important to remember tomorrow. As I’ve often heard, freedom isn’t free. Our founding fathers didn’t declare war on Great Britain so later generations could spend a day off in a department store. They had a vision and were willing to die to make it come to fruition. We are what we are today because of their courage and the courage of our service men and women who have fought and died to keep us free.

Interesting little piece of trivia here. Did you know that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826? Exactly 50 years to the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe also died on July 4 but in a different year and Calvin Coolidge was born on Independence Day.

And did you know only two of our founding fathers signed the Declaration on July 4? The rest signed it on July 8. Oh, I could go on and on with the fun facts. But here’s the point I want to make. As we ooh and aah over all the fireworks (although not here in Sun City Center due to all the construction going on at the CA this year), let’s take time to remember why we are celebrating this day.

The next holiday the chamber is closed will be Labor Day. I’m not sure how I’ll word the sign on the door, but you can bet it will include a salute to the American worker and their contributions to this great country. If they let me continue to make the signs…

Dana Dittmar is a resident of Kings Point and CEO of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce.

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