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Enjoy a safe Fourth of July

Unbelievably, the Fourth of July is already approaching next week, signaling for many the median point of the summer.

Really weird talking about this topic, when only last week the arrival of summer was definitely in question, given the over abundance of rain and not so summer-like temperatures.

The Fourth of July, also known commonly as Independence Day, honors the birthday of the United States of America.

The day is considered by many to be the most important national holiday in the United States, commemorating the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence, a document in which the 13 American colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so.

It was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which is why this date is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States. The original copy is still on display to the public in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

It is a day of family gatherings, picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag.

The holiday is commonly associated with parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball games and various other public and private celebratory events.

Fireworks have been associated with the day all the way back to 1777 as a natural and exciting way to mark the first celebration of Independence Day.

That tradition has thrived and still continues as a planned event in most communities across the nation. Locally, MSUM will be offering their annual 'light show' for avid spectators to enjoy.

No matter how you plan to celebrate the Fourth of July 2011, do so safely with a sense of pride and patriotism surrounded by friends and family and the traditional values that are most important and meaningful to you.