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Be safe, have fun on Fourth of July

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The United States of America will celebrate its 235th birthday on the Fourth of July. And since Independence Day falls on a Monday this year, most of us will have a long weekend to enjoy the federal holiday.
The midsummer holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring America’s independence from Great Britain.
It is a day of celebration, from the backyard to the pool, river or beach. Popular forms of celebration and observance include picnics, parades, cookouts, concerts, baseball games and family reunions.
Before embarking on that special celebration, we encourage you to consider the true meaning of the day.
Freedom isn’t free. There’s a price to pay and many of our military men and women have made the supreme sacrifice.
If you have no major plans for the day, or want to devote a day in the long holiday weekend to mark the day’s history, plan a trip to one of the area battle sites, like Kings Mountain, Cowpens or, a little closer to home, the Buford battleground or Hanging Rock.
Pack a picnic and make it a fun outing. Take in a tour of the battle site, and share the significance of the battle with a youngster. Tell them since the American Revolution, fought from 1775 to 1783, men and women have given their lives, in wars and battles at home and abroad, to ensure our freedom.
You can also enjoy Independence Day celebrations in Charlesboro, Heath Springs, Fort Mill, Rock Hill or Waxhaw or catch the baseball game and fireworks at Knights Castle, the Charlotte Knights’ home field in Fort Mill.
The Knights play Friday with the Durham Bulls and Monday with the Norfolk Tides. Both games start at 7:15 p.m., with fireworks slated afterward, including the popular Skyshow 2011 on July 4.
There are plenty of ways to celebrate the Fourth of July, and we urge you to do so, keeping a patriotic theme in mind.
We also encourage you to keep safety in mind.
Be careful if you celebrate around a pool, river, lake or the beach, all popular gathering places for this summer holiday. Use life jackets and make sure a responsible person is keeping an eye on the youngsters.
When hosting a cookout, be careful around the grill.
The same goes for fireworks if you choose to celebrate with them. Follow safety precautions and be responsible for your actions or leave them to the professionals at one of the area fireworks shows. Don’t take risks you might later regret. Make sure common sense is a companion at your holiday celebration.
If you’re on the road, heading out on vacation, or just going down the block or across town, remember alcohol never mixes well with driving. It often leads to disaster or tragedy.
A few key words to remember: Be safe and you will most likely have a happy Fourth of July this weekend.
Happy Birthday, America.