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History Column 4th of July Article 341 Dave Petersen Doesn't it seem to you that once we hit the 4th of July that the summer just breezes on past us at record speed? This year we didn't really (in my opinion) have much of a spring, then we got hot, and then cold and wet. As I sit here this morning I hear thunder on the west side of the house, the sun is shining and birds are singing on the east side. You can't get too upset about the weather especially if you have lived here and are from Michigan, the old adage that if you don't like the weather wait 5 minutes it will change is more truth than not. I would just like Mother Nature to stick to the calendar we created and put the seasons in their proper place. I remember as a kid growing up in Ludington wearing our winter coats on the 4th of July so we could sit on the curb and watch the parade. The funny thing was we thought it was fairly normal and not that unusual of a requirement. There were some cold 4th of July parades and on those days colder that night for the fireworks. One thing to be certain flexibility is the key to enjoying the seasons in Michigan. So don't forget to get outside, fire up the grill, go down to the beach, and enjoy as much of this season that we call summer. When you are with family and friends don't forget the reason we celebrate, and the sacrifice of the Men and Women that fought for our freedom. The 4th of July is the anniversary of our Declaration to the world that we are a free people and we have been fighting to remain free ever since. One thing we do like clockwork on the 4th of July is we have parades and I grabbed a few fourth of July pictures out of the album for today's column and some history of our celebrations to go with it. Pic1 Mason County Airport had a float and brought their own plane along for the ride. The 4th of July was not declared a holiday in 1870 but not a paid Federal Holiday until 1941, but it has been celebrated annually since the first anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. After the war ended in 1783 the celebrations became a holiday in some places but not in all. Pic2 An annual favorite is Scottville's very own Clown Band. As celebrations increased and people were able to take more time from their workdays to celebrate; picnics, baseball games, trips to the beach, and historical pageants became common activities. The pageants have dropped from popularity but hot dogs and watermelon have remained. Pic3 The Recycling Center was advertising and raising environmental awareness, parades are a good place to get the message out to thousands of people in a short time. We have some great bands that take part in the local parades, maybe we should have our own version of the Boston Pops Orchestra playing patriotic melodies such as the star spangled banner during our fireworks display? Pic4 I never get bored with the vintage cars, I just love them, you just don't see the artful design much in new models. While I can't imagine a Chevy Vega being in the parade lineup I'm sure that someday we'll have one. The Coney Island hot dog eating contest was begun as a way to settle a dispute between 4 immigrants as to who was the most patriotic. Pic5 Here is a rocket, its too bad that we can't load this one up with fireworks. New York has had the largest fireworks display with 22 tons of fireworks in 2009 but they really can't beat our local display put on by the Jaycees each year at the local beach or the shoreline cruise on the Badger. Pic6 This VFW float is a reminder of the price of freedom one we should remember but the 4th of July should be a celebration. John Adams wrote this about the 4th of July "ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade , with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other...." So ...what are you waiting for?

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