Words from Wiger: Why we celebrate the Fourth of July


MN State Senator Chuck Wiger, District 43

“I thought about a graveyard. At the bottom of the sea. Of unmarked graves in Arlington. No, Freedom isn’t free.” —Kelly Strong

 

Every July 4, citizens across Minnesota and the country celebrate our Independence Day.

It is a day well-known for parades, picnics and fireworks displays, but it is also the day our ancestors stood up for liberty and asserted our position as a free nation.

As you celebrate our nation’s birthday, also remember the words of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” —Declaration of Independence, 1776

These were the words of Americans who sought a different style of government than the European monarchies they left behind. The Revolutionary War that followed lasted from 1775 to 1783 eight long years that left thousands dead and thousands more wounded. It is important to understand the significance of the Declaration of Independence and the long struggle it took to achieve the freedom that sometimes we take for granted today. It is for these struggles and bravery that we celebrate the Fourth of July each year.

The Fourth of July gives us an opportunity to remember the struggles of our nation’s founders and reflect on the values upon which America was founded, but it is important to always remember the struggles and triumphs that got us to where we are today, not just once a year.

Today we don’t need to look very hard to find examples of heroic individuals representing the best of America. After a decade of war, we have hundreds of thousands of veterans who have risked their lives to defend the freedom written about in the Declaration of Independence. These men and women carry the same burden on their shoulders as did soldiers during the Revolutionary War — our liberty.

The struggles that America continues to face in the form of inequality and justice for all skin colors are reminders that we cannot rest on our laurels. The authors of the Declaration of Independence were brave and determined. Now we all must pick up that torch and think about the bigger picture and the thousands that have fought and died for our freedoms. Let it not be in vain.

While watching fireworks and enjoying time with friends and family, take a moment to consider what brought us to this day of celebration. The Fourth of July is a joyful time, but it is also a time to remember the price that was paid to form and maintain our country.

There are many local Fourth of July events going on in the East Metro area. Here are a few to consider checking out:

• Maplewood: Light it Up Maplewood event occurs July 4 at Hazelwood Park, 1663 County Road C, from 4 to 10 p.m. The event includes food, drinks, live music and bouncy houses for young children. The event is free and open to the public.

• White Bear Lake: The city is hosting a fireworks display at Memorial Beach just off Lake Avenue. Live music starting at 8 p.m. followed by a military plane flyover at 8:30 p.m. and ending with a fireworks display at 10 p.m. 

• Roseville: Party in the Park will be held at Roseville’s Central Park, 2540 Lexington Ave. N, Roseville. Carnival activities, inflatable fun and puppet shows will be held from 1 to 7 p.m. Fireworks over Bennett Lake begin at 10 p.m.

• Marine on St. Croix: Fireworks will be Tuesday, July 3, at 10 p.m. On July 4, a running race will be held at 9:15 a.m. and a kids parade will be at noon through downtown.

• St. Paul: The City of St. Paul will host its Fourth of July fireworks celebration over CHS Field in Lowertown, 360 N. Broadway St., at 10 p.m. following a movie (title to be announced) that begins at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks will be viewable only from within the baseball field, and they will not be viewable from Mounds Park, the St. Paul Cathedral or surrounding downtown parks and bridges. Blankets are welcome, but not coolers and chairs.

• St. Paul: The annual Fourth in the Park activities will take place in Langford Park, 2180 Knapp St., St. Paul. Morning races will be held at 8:30 a.m. followed by a parade at 11 a.m. and music, volleyball, horseshoe and other games at noon. Pony rides will be from 1 to 4 p.m.

 

As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you would like me to stop by your home or apartment. I can be reached by email at sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn, and by phone at 651-296-6820. My cell is 651-770-0283.

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