Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 1, 2023

MVNews this week:  Page B:7


 Mountain Views News Saturday, July 1, 2023 


I love the hot 
dogs and burgers 
and my mother’s 
delicious potato 

Mostly, though, 
I’ve always 
cherished the 
great gatherings of 
family and friends 
that culminate 
with spectacular 
fireworks displays 
that light up the dark summer sky.

I knew as a kid that on July 4th we were 
celebrating our many freedoms, which we 
earned by gaining independence from the 
British during the Revolutionary War, and 
which we cemented with the creation of the U.S. 

As an adult, I know our country was imperfect 
then, as it is now — that the Declaration of 
Independence, which spoke so forcefully of 
individual liberty, was leaving out people who 
were enslaved.

But I also know that our Constitution got many 
things right, especially checks and balances to 
keep each our three branches of government 
from getting too powerful, and the Bill of 
Rights, which guarantees the protection of the 
basic rights average citizens like me continue to 

Freedom of speech allows me to write this 
column and criticize my government when I 
think it is overstepping its bounds (hello, $32 
trillion in recklessly borrowed funds).

It’s for all of these reasons that I especially enjoy 
celebrating the Fourth of July.

According to, in 1776 some 
Americans — fully displaying the raucous 
American sense of humor — “celebrated the 
birth of independence by holding mock funerals 
for King George III.”

But the first official Fourth of July celebration 
occurred in Philadelphia in 1777 when 
Americans fired a cannon 13 times in honor 
of the original 13 colonies, and also set off 13 
fireworks, reports USA Today.

“The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported: ‘at 
night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks 
(which began and concluded with thirteen 
rockets) on the Commons, and the city was 
beautifully illuminated,’” reports

In Boston, on the very same night, the Sons of 
Liberty also set off fireworks, so fireworks have 
been a central part of our July 4th celebrations 
ever since.

To me, though, the biggest element of the July 
4th celebration is how we have so often come 
together to overcome our greatest challenges.

The 13 colonies had many differences and 
disagreements as their delegates worked together 
to establish the Declaration of Independence.

According to USA Today, Barbara Clark 
Smith, a curator of political history at the 
National Museum of American History, notes 
how extraordinary it was for colonists to find 
common ground.

“They did find a way to put differences aside and 
join together to work for a common goal,” she 
added. “While declaring independence, they 
also declared interdependence.”

And that is why on July 4, 1776, the

Second Continental Congress 

unanimously approved and adopted the 
Declaration of Independence.

In that collaborative spirit, I offer an idea.

In addition to the hot dogs, burgers and our 
family’s uniquely delicious potato salad, on 
this July 4th why don’t we engage in a civil 
discussion with friends and family members 
with whom we may disagree?

Why don’t we try a special exercise in which we 
identify some of the basic things we agree on?

I’m betting that as we clarify our thinking in a 
civil manner, we’ll discover we agree far more 
than we disagree.

Follow this approach and the only fireworks 
that will go off during your July 4th gathering 
will be the ones that illuminate the night sky!

Purcell, creator of the infotainment site, which features pet advice he’s 
learning from his beloved Labrador, Thurber, is 
a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist. 
Email him at

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