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July 04, 2009

Americans celebrate the 4th of July with firworks. Stay safe & sane.
(REGIONAL) -- Why not stay safe and sane as well as fire and injury free this 4th of July? The Washington State Fire Marshall’s office is urging extreme caution today and tomorrow due to the fire hazard brought on by hot weather and dry conditions.

Already there have been a number of brush, forest and structure fires around the state – some caused by fireworks – and the big day for the fire hazard is today as hundreds of thousands of state residents set up at home or elsewhere to light off millions of dollars of both legal and illegal fireworks.

And if you’re thinking about dragging out an old brass canon you’ve had in the attic for years and using it today to celebrate, State Fire Marshal Michael G. Matlick announced yesterday there were three exploding cannon incidents in Washington State within an 18-month period that caused serious and fatal injuries.

~ Oct 6, 2006, Snohomish WA - 1 critical injury

~ July 4, 2007, Littlerock WA - 1 fatal injury

~ July 4, 2008, Rochester WA - 2 critical injuries

The state fire marshall’s office says shooting of muzzle loading artillery devices (cannons) should be performed by trained and experienced professionals. Homemade cannons, or any other type of cannon, should not be used by families to commemorate events at home.

So in case you'd care to take the advice of the state fire marshal’s office – and your own local fire department – and leave the fireworks to professionals, here is a short list of some of the various community sponsored fireworks displays and other celebrations around the area today.

Everett's Colors of Freedom 4th of July: Big downtown parade today (SAT) with lots of marching bands, dancers, giant puppets and more. It’s 11am in downtown Everett at Colby and Wetmore avenues between Wall and 26th streets. From 1pm to 10pm in Legion Park at 145 Alverson Blvd., there’s a food fair, beer garden, kids activities, music and more. Then at Port Gardner Bay it’s the big Everett fireworks show starting around 10:20 pm.

Seattle – The Chase Family Fourth at Lake Union: The big daddy of the area’s big fireworks show and community celebrations. Once hailed by TIME Magazine as one of the "Top Five Fireworks Displays" in the country, this free admission, family-friendly celebration is in its 21st year of bringing together the local community on our nation's birthday for a unique day of commemoration.

Festivities kick off Saturday (today) at noon with family activities throughout the park grounds such as food vendors catering to the most diverse palates, kids’ activities and a beer garden with a lake view. The evening programming begins at approximately 10 PM, with a big fireworks show created by master pyrotechnic designer, Eric Tucker of Pyro Spectaculars.

The Chase Family 4th consistently wows audience members with innovative and technologically advanced fireworks handpicked from around the world and set against the natural amphitheater of Lake Union.

Lynnwood Star-Spangled Celebration: Today, a costume parade, 5:30 p.m.; kids' activities, music and food vendors from 6pm-10:30 pm, a fireworks show, 10 p.m. All taking place at the Lynnwood Athletic Complex, 3003 184th St. S.W., Lynnwood.

An Edmonds Kind of Fourth: Today (SAT) a fun run at 10am and kids parade at 11:30. Main parade is at noon, there’s music at 7:30pm and fireworks at about 10pm all in downtown Edmonds.

Bothell Freedom Festival: Starts today(SAT) with a kids parade at 11:15am with the grand parade coming at noon, on Main Street in downtown Bothell. There’s a concert in the park at 1:30 pm and a historical re-enactment of the battle of Concord at 2 pm at Park at Bothell Landing, 9919 N.E. 180th St. in Bothell. There’s also fireworks over Lake Washington at 10 p.m. Saturday at Log Boom Park, Northeast 175th Street and 61st Avenue Northeast in Kenmore.

Stanwood Old-Fashioned Independence Day Parade and Ice Cream Social: the parade starts at 11 a.m. today (SAT) at the Josephine Sunset Home, 9901 272nd Place NW, and proceeds down 99th Avenue NW, then turns right at 270th Street NW for one block and then turns north on 102nd AVE NW to the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center at 27130 102nd Ave. NW where there’ll be the presentations of awards.

Monroe Evergreen Speedway: Auto racing today (SAY) and demolition derby with fireworks at dusk. From 5pm-11 p.m at Evergreen State Fairgrounds, 14405 179th Ave. S.E., Monroe; $7.50-$22.50.

Index 4th Of July: The Town of Index July 4th Parade. The day starts at 10:30 a.m. today (SAT) with face painting at Dolittle Park for the kids, preparation and decoration of bicycles for the parade, live music throughout the day and just plain down home fun and entertainment.

And in case you’ve forgotten what we’re celebrating today:

Americans are celebrating and commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The document decalred independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Adams' prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

One of the most enduring myths about Independence Day is that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

The myth had become so firmly established that, decades after the event and nearing the end of their lives, even the elderly Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had come to believe that they and the other delegates had signed the Declaration on the fourth.
Most delegates actually signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776.

In a remarkable series of coincidences, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two founding fathers of the United States and the only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence to become president, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the United States' 50th anniversary.



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