Have a Happy — and Safe — Fourth of July

Now that the weather forecast seems to indicate that Mother Nature will be cooperative for the upcoming Fourth of July weekend (although we will have unseasonably cool temperatures), we’re sure that all of our fellow Americans will find a way to celebrate the holiday in appropriate fashion.

Here in Winthrop, we will have our traditional events on the Fourth, with the Pt. Shirley Horribles Parade stepping off from the Public Landing at 9:00 a.m. (followed by fun events at Coughlin Park) and then the fireworks at 9:00 p.m. that evening (which will be launched from Coughlin).

However, regardless of where or how we do so, we hope that all of our readers will exercise restraint in their observance of our Nation’s birthday.

Back at the turn of the 20th century, Americans celebrated the Fourth in uproarious fashion. The official celebrations began at midnight with bonfires and the like, giving license to groups of unruly youths to vandalize both public and private property throughout the night.

The damage went unabated year-after-year until civic groups were formed to bring a degree of civilized behavior to their communities’ Fourth of July festivities. Newspapers exhorted their readers to observe a “safe and sane Fourth of July.” Although many felt that the efforts of such groups would be fruitless, eventually our society came to no longer tolerate such bad behavior on our national holiday.

We obviously have come a long way since then, but too many individuals still use the Fourth of July as an excuse to drink too much, play with illegal fireworks, and act in a juvenile manner.

As surely as night follows day, the news stations and newspapers will bring us reports after the holiday about tragic events that could have been avoided if those involved had not been drinking and driving, or drinking and boating, or drinking and swimming, or allowing their children to play with dangerous fireworks. It is up to each of us not only to ensure our own safety, but that of our friends and loved ones if we are aware that they are imbibing too much. No one wants to say the next morning, “If only I had taken their keys….”

We wish all of our readers a happy Fourth of July and we hope that all will do so safely.

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