Happy Birthday, America!

The Fourth of July is the most significant national holiday in the United States. It celebrates the Declaration of Independence, adopted on 4 July, 1776. The Thirteen Colonies of America declared themselves to be states and no longer part of the British Empire and adopted the Declaration of Independence – declaring this “new” idea of the nation of the United States of America.

America was and is still the land of opportunity – made up of immigrants from the old world bravely setting out to the new world for new opportunities. The fundamental notion of what continues to make this country great is simple: We are welcomed to this land to build our hopes, to shape our future, to work, and to live the American dream.

Across the nation, firework displays and parties will ensue to celebrate Independence Day. And, as a national holiday, it also serves as an occasion for reunions and vacations. It is a time for unity and community.

For Oklahomans, activities abound and many Independence Day events can be found on websites like, TravelOK.com. Many folks will celebrate in close gatherings and should private fireworks are part of the party, be sure to review the National Council on Fireworks Safety.

Here are some big tips:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.

Be safe, have fun and as we celebrate America’s birthday, let’s take to heart the poetic words of The New Colossus written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 and sealed in a bronze plaque located in the Status of Liberty’s museum:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch. Whose flame is the imprisoned lightning. And her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.  “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Happy Birthday, America!

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