Commentary by Maryland Senator Roy Dyson, (D-Great Mills)
On July 4, 2010, we will celebrate the United States' 234th anniversary of independence. Fifty-six brave patriots from the thirteen colonies had the courage and audacity to oppose their mother country, England, and their king, George III, and demand fair treatment and an end to the imposition of repressive and excessive taxation. All but four of them signed the Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson.
The thirteen colonies and a rag tag army of revolutionaries went to war to win fair treatment by England, not independence. To their amazement and the amazement of the world, the thirteen renegade colonies won the war, as well as their independence from England, the mightiest nation in the world at that time.
Voltaire said, "Injustice in the end produces independence." And so it did for the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence structured the foundation of the U.S. Constitution. It proclaimed the right of every citizen to achieve his or her full potential. Throughout our history, we have strived to uphold and protect this basic right for all Americans. President Abraham Lincoln called the Declaration of Independence "that immortal emblem of humanity."
Wisely, the framers of the Constitution allowed for the expansion of our dreams and the protection of our rights by leaving the document open to the interpretation of the courts and referendum of the people.
Everything about the birth of our nation defied the odds. This was a time in history when nations and colonies lived under the rule of kings. Even King George questioned how the United States of America could survive with monarchical rule.
On July 4, 1776, the Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. The first celebration of the Declaration of Independence took place on July 8, 1776 with shouts of jubilation and shots of gunfire.
By the early 1800s, the tradition of parades, picnics and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America's birthday. That tradition prevails today. However, the merriment, good food, and pyrotechnics tend to obscure the meaning of that which we celebrate. We are celebrating the realization of independence and freedom of pursuit for every American to achieve his or her potential. We are celebrating the anniversary of the greatest democracy on earth.
Each year as we celebrate our freedoms with picnics and family outings, the emergency rooms at our local hospitals treat citizens for severe burns, eye injuries, and many other avoidable injuries. Some people are literally scarred for life. Fireworks can be dangerous in the wrong hands, especially of children. If you do permit fireworks at your celebration, please supervise them very closely, and never allow young children to ignite, handle or even be near them.
There are several areas where firework displays are scheduled, and are a safe place to watch our skies light up! If you are really a fireworks fanatic, there are public firework displays, July 2nd through the 5th! Some of them include:
Rod-N-Reel in Chesapeake Beach, July 3rd - Largest fireworks display on the bay!
Solomons Island, on June 4th (rain date June 5th) at dusk. Calvert Marine Museum is offering a limited number of seats on the Tennison for $35, which includes light fare.
Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department, on July 3rd is offering a fun filled family event, starting at 11am with a car, truck and bike show, and live music. Fireworks start at dusk, and music will continue through 11pm.
St. Mary's College River Concert will be held July 2nd. Enjoy patriotic music and enjoy the fireworks after the concert.
On July 5th, the Charles County Fairgrounds will be providing fun activities for the entire family, and fireworks at dusk.
2010 4th of July Fireworks Guide for So. Maryland