One of history’s greatest lessons on the power of words is remembered and celebrated every year on July 4th. The Declaration of Independence contain the words that led to us becoming a nation of free people.
Thomas Jefferson, author of the document, passed by the Continental Congress and had a vision of what it meant for a people to be free. His words become the very heart of the American Revolution. He once said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
Let us continue to see our nation as work in progress to extend the gifts of freedom to all live in our land.
Of course the other great document of our national history is our Constitution. It is the very framework of how we function as a people. In our time, a lot of the spotlight has been on the Second Amendment of the Constitution. This is the one that insures our right to bear arms. But James Madison who wrote those first ten amendments known as our “Bill of Rights” recognized that the right to words is the foundation of all our freedoms.
As Madison wrote in the first amendment, the Constitution protects the freedom to choose one’s own way to God, to be free to express our feelings and thoughts, to have a press not controlled by the government, to gather together without fear and to petition the government. He knew the power of words.
The right for me to write these words and you to read them is a part of our free press. Jefferson said, “Whenever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.”
He further is reported to have said, if he had to choose between a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, he would not hesitate to prefer the latter. Again the power of the freedom of thought and expression. And the need to be informed to use that power.
On July 4th, we are invited to gather at the square to celebrate the gift of freedom given to us and to be reminded of our responsibility to guard it and sustain it for those who follow us.
“Independence On the Square” starts at 2 in the afternoon with registration for the Special Olympics Equestrian Team golf cart parade. The parade will go around the Square at 4 p.m. Music will be featured on the Main Stage starting at 5:15 p.m. with Whiskey Bend.
The focus switches to the Square itself at 6 p.m. for the Newton County Band and Mass Choir. Their presentation will feature “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Just to make sure you are in a festive mood on the main stage starting at 7 p.m. will be Tedo Stone. The spotlight shifts to the Square Park Stage for the Hudson Road Band at 7:55 p.m. We return to the Main Stage at 8:50 p.m. for the Drive Time Band.
During the afternoon there is shopping, food, a dunking booth, an antique car show, a hamster roll, a spider jump and a bucket truck rides. You will also find face painting, inflatables, hydrant release, touch-a-truck and a rock wall. I am not sure what half of that list is. But you and your family will find plenty to do. An alert on the dunking booth: the word of the street is that Covington’s Mayor Ronnie Johnston, will be on line to be dunked at 3 p.m.
All this is leading to 9:43 p.m. for “The Star Spangled Banner,” and for the sky to explode in a spectacular fireworks display at 9:45 p.m. All of this is sponsored by Main Street Covington under the leadership of Valinda Hardy and the City of Covington under the leadership of Mayor Ronnie Johnston and the City Council. Last year over 40,000 people watched the fireworks and more are expected this year. There is not a better display of fireworks in the state.
We want to thank Robert Foxworth, again, for his very generous support of this spectacular fireworks display. This is the eighth year he has led the effort to fund the fireworks. And he says it does it to give back to the community and to see the smiles on people’s face as they enjoy the show. The show this year will see the fireworks launched from two different sites and will be more spectacular than ever.