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History Lesson for Independence Day

June 23, 2009
We Are One

Celebrating the Fourth of July has been more in the public eye this year in Newton because in a very tight budget year the City Council wasn't sure it had the money to pay for the usual fireworks display.

As most readers now know, Newton will have a fireworks display from the area north of Woodland Park, but the celebration will take place the evening of July 5, not July 4.

Perhaps all the discussion justifies a brief review of the July Fourth national holiday.

What is it we are celebrating? Is it:

1. The signing of the Constitution of the United States

2. The signing of the Declaration of Independence

3. The end of the Revolutionary War.

When did it become illegal in Iowa for individuals to shoot off fireworks and firecrackers?

1. During World War II when everything went into the war effort.

2. In the 1930s following a disasterous fire at Spencer, Iowa.

In Newton, has the city fireworks display always been at its present location?




The signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The fire at Spencer

No - The public display of fireworks has also occurred at the football stadium and in Sunset Park.

I recently reread the Declaration of Independence, which is mostly a listing of the illegal and coercive acts imposed on the American colonies by George III, King of Great Britain. The Declaration was written by Thomas Jefferson with assistance from some other delegates to the Continental Congress.

It is interesting reading because Jefferson broke some new ground in asserting the rights of a group of people.

It is also interesting because the historian, Barhara Tuchman, in her book,"The March of Folly," cites the British loss of North America as a folly that could have been avoided.

Think how world history would be changed if the United States and the British Empire had remained one governmental unit.

WAO recommends that you shut off the TV for twenty minutes and read the Declaration of Independence.

You will find it in the World Almanac and various other reference sources.

DON'T FORGET. Men have died to make the Declaration of Independence more than a historical curiosity!



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