Fourth of July Memories

This weekend brings the Fourth of July, the celebration of the birth of our nation and an opportunity for all of us to partake in summertime fun with friends and family.

The Fourth of July brings back fond recollections from our youth, when we celebrated the Fourth with cookouts at our grandmother’s house at Yirrell Beach on Pt. Shirley in Winthrop.

Those happy summer memories of sparklers, smores, and bonfires on the beach with family members, many of whom are no longer with us, are etched indelibly in our mind’s eye and always bring a smile to our face as if they were just yesterday, though they occurred decades ago.

However, the Fourth of July also brings back a sad memory of a friend, an athletic young man in his 20s who was one of our basketball buddies, who became intoxicated at a backyard barbecue. He fell off a small porch when he missed a step and fractured some vertebrae, leaving him a paraplegic and wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life

That tragic event happened almost 30 years ago, but the shock of hearing of our friend’s accident, and then seeing him for the first time in a wheelchair, is something we never will forget.

All of us should make it a priority to do what we can to ensure that our loved ones and others with whom we’ll be spending the holiday do so in a safe and reasonable manner.

That is doubly true if any of our activities are water-related or if driving is involved. We should keep in mind that over-imbibing in alcohol always is an invitation for a tragic situation, even in our backyards.

In addition, the illegal use of dangerous fireworks will result in many trips to the emergency room by those who suffered eye injuries, severed fingers, and burns.

In the 1800s and early 1900s, the Fourth of July served as a convenient excuse for young men to go on a rampage throughout their communities, vandalizing public and private property. The term “a safe and sane Fourth” was introduced at the start of the last century to discourage such wanton acts of rowdyism.

Although we no longer celebrate the Fourth as recklessly as our ancestors did, nonetheless we all must do our part to make sure that we observe the Fourth’s festivities safely and sanely, both for ourselves and our loved ones.

We wish all of our readers a happy, fun-filled, and safe Fourth of July.

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