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Independence Day still echoes 246 years later

“The second day of July, 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” — John Adams to his wife, written in 1776.

Resolution for independence from the British Empire and creation of the United States was voted on by the Second Continental Congress and approved July 2, 1776 with final approval, after debates and revisions, made two days later; hence the Fourth of July as the official birthday of our nation.

Our nation officially turns 246 year old today. Enjoy it and enjoy what it stands for and has always stood for: freedom and independence from tyranny.

There is never a shortage of Independence Day activities for local residents. Salem had its fireworks show scheduled last night at Memorial Park. Columbiana always does a bang-up job with its July 4th activities and big fireworks show at Firestone Park. East Palestine and Canfield planned full activities. The annual Parade of Boats will be held on Guilford Lake this afternoon at 2 p.m. If you have never seen it, you might want to consider it. You will see some pretty cool decorated and colorful boats sailing on a lazy, hazy summer day. You will see some imagination put into the efforts of the boaters.

Regardless of what you have planned today to wrap up your holiday weekend, enjoy it. Enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy — and appreciate — your individual freedom. Nothing is perfect and neither is our country. But it remains the finest nation in the history of mankind. Not too bad at all.

The most common yet strongest thread running through our nation’s fiber is our independence. That is the way John Adams and his fellow founding fathers meant it to be. Enjoy the holiday and appreciate your freedom. With all the Constitution bashing going on nowadays it is even more significant. Stress that to your children and grandchildren. Make sure they understand what the words “Declaration of Independence” represent.

And speaking of Adams, our country’s second president, here are some interesting facts about the Fourth of July. How’s this for an amazing coincidence?: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to later to serve as presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826.

Another founding father, our fifth president James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, becoming the third president to die on a July 4th. Years later, 30th president Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872 — the only president born on Independence Day.

According to accounts, when Jefferson was nearing death he called for family and friends around his bedside and with a distinct tone uttered: “I have done for my country, and for all mankind, all that I could do, and I now resign my soul, without fear, to my God, my daughter, to my country.”

After falling back asleep, Jefferson later awakened at eight o’clock that evening and spoke his last words: “Is it the fourth yet?” His doctor replied, “It soon will be.”

On July 4, at ten minutes before one o’clock in the afternoon, Jefferson died at the age of 83 — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence — and a few hours before John Adams, whose own last words were, “Independence forever” and “Thomas Jefferson survives.”

Let us indeed pray the our independence will always remain forever in this nation, our nation, the grandest of all nations.

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