Citizens reflect on Independence Day

Published 6:04 pm Monday, July 3, 2023

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Independence Day is the annual American holiday that falls on July 4 and marks the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted – July 4, 1776 – the day the United States became a nation.

Americans declared independence from Great Britain that day. Mounting tensions over issues like taxation without representation led members of the June 1776 Continental Congress to draft and adopt the declaration.

In 1776, some colonists celebrated Independence Day by hosting mock funerals for King George III of England as a symbolic display of the death of England’s rule over America. The first official annual commemoration took place on July 4, 1777.

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Sometimes referred to as “America’s birthday,” modern communities celebrate the day in a variety of ways such as festivals, parades, fireworks, barbeques, picnics, and a host of other celebrations. Usually accompanied by red, white, and blue decorations, foods, and clothing, community events pay honor to the freedom their forefathers gained on that day 247 years ago. And, whether patriotic observances take the shape of congregational singing, special performances, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, flag waving, or the simple heartfelt quiet moment, citizens around tri county communities take time to celebrate their nation’s freedom.

Each individual, family, and community celebrates in their own, unique way and for every American, the day has its own special meaning. Staff reporters polled a few citizens, who gave their thoughts on what Independence Day means to them.

“July 4 means reflection, gratitude and celebration. It is a day to reflect on our nation’s founding generation, who through bravery and sacrifice, formed a country free of tyranny. It is a chance to pause in gratitude for the freedoms often taken for granted, to remember the value of every God-given life and the true cost of lives lost through each rebellion, battle and war. America is a beacon of freedom throughout the world and we need not look far to be reminded of that. At a pivotal and divisive time in our nation, I hope that this July 4, we all take a moment to thank God for the blessing of being an American and acknowledge the great responsibility that comes with great freedom.” ~ District Judge Nicki McFerrin

“It’s a day that we can reflect on how blessed we are to live in a country where we can worship God, and we do not need to take that privilege lightly! God bless America!” ~ Crenshaw Christian Academy Headmaster Becky Baggett.

“It’s kind of like a break for the people. They always kind of take the Fourth of July off. It’s Independence Day and we live in the greatest country on Earth. Our family will stop and try to appreciate that. This country has been good to me and I don’t know of any other country I’d want to move to. It’s certainly a time to take a break from work, to have some good food and a good time.” ~ Lowndes County Commissioner Dickson Farrior. 

“It’s another day to appreciate our many blessings.” ~ Dale Shepherd of Luverne.

“It gives me time to be in my backyard in my pool and hope that everybody behaves themselves.” ~ District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer said,

“[Fourth of July] is a time to remember how lucky we are to live in a free country. Also, it means fun and food with my family.” ~ Dr. Alethea Gammage with Crenshaw Animal Clinic in Luverne.

“Independence Day really justifies our country’s freedom. Since July 4, 1776 we’ve had a rich and stellar tradition, over approximately 247 plus years.” ~ Lowndes County Senior Army Instructor Master Sergeant Bruce Reeves. 

“When I hear July Fourth… the first person I personally think of is my grandfather, Mr. James Adams. Those guys [who served] in WW2 walked through the world for us to have this country and its freedom. The holiday gives me a reminder of the trueness of love, honor, and respect for everyone those guys had. So, for our country to stop and remember those kinds of acts…yes let’s have a holiday. My daughter, when asked the question, stated it excites her because we always make homemade ice cream. To everyone, it’s important. We still live in a great country even if we all don’t always agree. That’s what those guys were fighting for.”