Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Independence Day Again

Wick's World


It’s almost here, the annual holiday that celebrates America’s independence from British rule, the Fourth of July. I’ll never forget the celebration at the Arthyde Community Club Park in the early 1970s when the high for the day was in the low 40s. The wind was blustery and the rain was cold. The following year, it was humid and the thermometer almost reached a hundred degrees. Although the weather has never found a level of consistency in Minnesota at this or any other time of year, celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence has been a tradition carried on in this country ever since a vote was taken on July 4, 1776.

The first public reading of the document on July 8, 1776 at Independence Square in Philadelphia was preceded by the first printing two days earlier in the Pennsylvania Evening Post. There has been some dispute over when the observance of the celebration should be as the acceptance of the Declaration of Independence was not completed until sometime in August. Evidently it would have been too confusing to celebrate the 4th of July on the 10th of August. Our ancestors decided to celebrate on July 4th, the date when nine of the fourteen colonies ratified this country’s most important document. The signing in August finally completed the document once the last guy put his John Hancock on it.

My youngest son also disputed whether the 4th of July was the correct day to celebrate this important historical event. His argument in high school Civics earned him a seat in the hallway when he disrupted the class by saying “It couldn’t have been signed on the Fourth of July. No way would politicians be working on a holiday!”

Famous quotes that surround this holiday other than my son’s include, “The British are coming, the British are coming!” which wasn’t heard again for over two hundred years, following the arrival of the Beatles in the 1960s.

“The shot heard around the world” to start the Battle of Concord marked the unofficial beginning of the war for our independence from King George III, one of several King Georges that impacted America. Ironically, I never thought I would see the day when I longed for either of the most recent King Georges (Bush) back to the Oval Office in order to keep our fragile democracy from slipping into a totalitarian monarchy.

The Fourth of July holiday is surrounded by many quotes and clichés, the first few relevant only to Minnesota.

“Well, it’s the Fourth, summer’s almost begun.”

“Well, it’s the Fourth, summer’s here.”

“Well, it’s the Fourth, summer’s almost over.”

“Don’t drink and drive” or in Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington State, D.C., and others, “Don’t smoke and drive.”

“Be careful with fireworks.”

“Wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn.”

“Drink plenty of water to avoid sunstroke.”

“Wear a life jacket to avoid drowning.”

“Shoot fireworks, not opioids.”

“Don’t bring guns to the picnic.”

“Honor your country, mom, apple pie, and the flag.”

Speaking of the flag, consider this etiquette about displaying a flag. Fly it from sunrise until sundown. Only fly it at night if it is illuminated. If you’re flying other flags on the same pole, remember to place Old Glory on top, unless it’s beside the flag of another nation. International law forbids one nation’s flag to fly higher than another’s during peacetime. If you place a flag on a platform or stage for an Independence Day speech, be sure to have the flag placed on the speaker’s right.

Before flying the flag upside down, (signal for country in distress), allow ample time for the Ritalin to kick in on our current King. America is very resilient and in one form or another, we will survive.

Have a safe and happy Fourth!


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