If it seems like we have been celebrating Independence Day for more than a week, that’s because we have. This is the time we celebrate our birth as a nation and the freedoms that we cherish. It seems that we can’t get it all into just one day.
It is a great time for all of us to come together and celebrate our great nation. In politics, there may be Red States or Blue States, and some even are called Purple States. But for a least a few days in the middle of the summer, we are all Red, White and Blue.
It was more than a day when it all got started back in 1776. The actual vote for Independence came on July 2. At that point there was no finished written Declaration that would come on the fourth. For that reason, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin thought we should observe July 2 as our birth as a nation. The first public reading would come on July 8 and that was when the Liberty Bell was rung.
Yesterday in the City of Covington, there was a full day of celebration at the Square with activities for all ages. There was a concert by the Newton County Community Band and Mass Choir. On two different stages there were various musical groups. There was great food available at a food court and a parade of golf carts for the Special Olympics Equestrian Team. The evening was topped off by the National Anthem followed by a spectacular fireworks extravaganza. This was all sponsored by the city and Main Street Covington.
The last few years, this spectacular celebration has been on July Fourth. Under the leadership of Mayor Ronnie Johnston and the City Council, this has become a great day to express our patriotism. Last year it was estimated the 6,000 people were on the Square and adjacent area, and a total of 40,000 folks watched the fireworks. More were expected for this year.
We are indebted each year to Robert Foxworth for his very generous support and leadership for this fireworks spectacular. This is the seventh year he has given his support and recruited others to help as well. When asked why each year he does this, he said, “I like giving back. I get a thrill out of seeing the smiles on people’s faces. Everyone loves fireworks.”
In our area, maybe the first “official celebrations” started with the celebrations in Social Circle and Loganville. Mayor Hal Dally of Social Circle said the city came together with the local church to have the Independence Day Celebration. Featured was a parade honoring Vietnam Veterans and a gospel music concert, followed by fireworks.
I knew we were in for more than a day, when I went to my exercise class at the Y led by Darcel Tabb on Monday and we did some of our exercise to patriotic music. One day will simply not hold it all.
Now many of the celebrations are scheduled after the deadline for me to turn this column in, so I am going out on a limb and assuming they all went without a hitch. Now if weather was a problem Friday or yesterday, don’t blame me. I always told people when I was the pastor of a church, “Don’t blame me; I am in sales, not management.”
On Friday there was scheduled at picnic for the folks in Oxford at the Old Church. On July 4 there was to the annual parade through the heart of Oxford. This tradition started with bicentennial celebration in 1976 and has continued every year since, sponsored by the city and the Lions Club.
Waiting at the end of the parade was watermelon and popcorn.
On the night of the fourth, Porterdale had its annual “Festival, Fanfare, and Fireworks.” For four days, Conyers has featured at the Georgia International Horse Park a Star and Stipes Circuit Sanctioned Quarter Horse Show.
Judge Kendall Wynne, speaking to the Kiwanis Club of Covington at the end of June, pointed out that we can trace our Declaration of Indepence back to at least two things. One is the desire in all people of all times to be free. The other source he mentioned was the Magna Carta of 1215. From that document came the right to a trial by jury. This, the judge said, is what stands between the people and the power of the government. He said this makes 2015 a very special year, in that it is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
Let use these days of celebration to remember how blessed we are for those who were bold enough to declare our independence as a nation. Let us be inspired to get involved to use our freedoms for the common good. Let us as a people be sure that we continue to include all, not only in the celebration, but in the benefits of freedom. While we declare our independence as a nation, we are very interdependent on others that make up our land. This is not just for a day or even a week, but for all our days.