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Bright advice: Be safe

July 4, 2009
Morning Journal News

Americans literally get a bang from the holiday we're celebrating today.

Fireworks, even though it is illegal to detonate them in Ohio, will be booming and banging throughout the day and night.

If all the noise annoys you, blame it on our second president, John Adams. Although Thomas Jefferson usually gets credit for this quote, perhaps because Jefferson was the most eloquent speaker and writer of his time, it was Adams who actually suggested that fireworks be used to celebrate the nation's birthday. Writing to his wife about the Fourth of July, shortly after having signed the Declaration of Independence, Adams said, "I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other..."

And thus, the idea of celebrating the July Fourth holiday with fireworks was born and fireworks remain a holiday staple today.

Several communities will be hosting fireworks displays today in celebration of the holiday. East Palestine, Columbiana, Chester, W.Va., and Midland, Pa., will put their illuminations off at 10 p.m., while Toronto will light up the skies at dusk.

The state fire marshal's office reminds us that the best way to prevent fireworks injuries is to attend a licensed, professional fireworks exhibition. Interim fire marshal Donald C. Cooper warns that "even trick and novelty fireworks, like sparklers, are inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury."

Ohio's strange law allows fireworks to be sold in our state, but you must agree to take them out of Ohio to discharge them. The law spells out stiff penalties for the illegal possession or discharge of fireworks. It's a first-degree misdemeanor for non-licensed persons to discharge fireworks within the state, to falsify an application when purchasing fireworks, or to keep them here for more than 48 hours without taking them out of state. First-time offenders are subject to up to a $1,000 fine and six months imprisonment.

So keep this in mind and detonate personal fireworks safely if you're one of the thousands who will opt to ignore the law and host a private fireworks display.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate our nation's 233rd birthday, may it be a safe and happy one.



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