What is the Fourth of July
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What is the Fourth of July
Each 4th of July, the Foster City Parks and Recreation Department, in conjunction with the Foster City Lions Club, sponsors an all-day celebration at Leo J. Ryan Park culminating in the evening with one of the few remaining fireworks displays on the Peninsula. Those in attendance were presented a full day’s schedule of events and activities.

In support of the activities and adjacent to the Amphitheater, the Foster City Lions Club offered a barbecue style menu including hot dogs and hamburgers. If during the day you were in reasonable eyesight of the Lions booth, you might have noticed three United States flags flying above the booth. These flags belonged to Paul Nelson, Mayor of Foster City in 1973 and a long time member of the Lions Club.

In the early morning of each 4th of July, Paul would bring his flags to the park and with the help of other Lions would make sure that the flags were displayed proudly at the Lions booth. When Paul’s health began to fail him, he asked me to continue the tradition of making sure the flags were prominently displayed at future 4th of July celebrations. I accepted his request with great honor and have every intention of continuing his tradition.

While unwrapping flags from their protective coverings, I found myself reflecting on the true meaning of the 4th of July and what our flag symbolizes. How often do we reflect upon the underlying meaning of any of our national holidays? Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day are days set aside for the remembrance of significant events and the ultimate sacrifices many have made to make our nation as great as it is.

The following is not meant to be a history lesson but is intended to serve as a reminder as to why we celebrate the 4th of July. I have met many who celebrate the 4th of July, but do not know the significance and why the holiday is important in the history of our country. There are others who state that it is for independence but do not know what we are independent from nor why.

In the years leading up to 1776, Great Britain kept trying to force the colonists into following more rules and paying increasingly higher taxes. Relations between Great Britain and their American colonies became increasingly strained.

Those living in the colonies objected to this overbearing rule and began making plans to be able to establish their own rules. They were tired of being told what they could and could not do and decided to tell Great Britain that they were becoming their independent country. “Independent” means taking care of yourself, making your own rules and providing for your own needs.

So, a group of colonists created a formal document that would tell Great Britain that the Americans had decided to govern themselves. The document was finalized on July 2, 1776 and formally adopted on July 4, 1776.

The Declaration of Independence is more than just an ink filled piece of paper; it is the symbolic evidence of our country's independence and commitment to ideals. Signers of the Declaration of Independence wanted the citizens of the United States to have a document that spelled out what was important to our leaders and citizens. They wanted us to be able to look at the Declaration of Independence and immediately think of the goals we should always try to achieve, and about the people who have fought so hard and died to make these ideals possible.

When one of these days of remembrance appears on your calendar, you may choose to pause and reflect upon their meaning.
I would appreciate your comments on this and other issues by emailing me at akiesel@fostercity.org.

Council Corner

July 09, 2008
What is the Fourth of July
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