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Have a safe and happy Fourth of July

I wish each and every person an exciting and safe Fourth of July holiday. This special day in the life of our country is a celebration of our independence 244 years ago; thus, the day is also referred to as Independence Day.

It was July 4, 1776, that the 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. This new Declaration of Independence was first published by The Pennsylvania Evening Post and has since become our nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty. Since that time, our nation has grown to include 50 states, each of which is self-governed, yet united as one.

A year later, on July 4, 1777, citizens of Philadelphia heard public readings of the Declaration and celebrated with fireworks, parades and other displays of patriotism to the new nation. July 4 was officially established by Congress as Independence Day in 1870 and we have continued to celebrate each year with firework displays, parades, picnics and other events.

As you celebrate the Fourth of July this year, I remind you to practice safety, whether it is in the preparation and consumption of food or enjoying at-home fireworks. Always remember that fireworks can pose a fire and safety hazard for those who use them. I recommend that anyone shooting fireworks follow a few safety rules.

  • Always have a fire extinguisher available and know how to operate it properly.
  • Provide adult supervision for children around fireworks at all times.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Point fireworks away from homes and keep them away from brush, leaves and flammable substances.
  • Always have a bucket of water or a connected water hose nearby.

If you are traveling this weekend, remember to always wear your seat belt and never drive if you are under the influence of any amount of alcohol or drugs. Not only do you risk your life if you drive impaired, you put occupants of other vehicles at risk also. If you must travel on our roadways, use a sober designated driver.

During this period of COVID-19 awareness as Louisiana remains in Phase Two, I remind you to practice safe social distancing and wear a mask if you are around persons other than close family members.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not remind everyone to honor our grand old flag, which is the emblem of the land we love. For a touching lesson about the importance of our flag, go to your preferred search engine and find the lyrics to George M. Cohan’s “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

I stand for our flag on this Fourth of July weekend and I encourage you to do the same as you have a fun, safe and healthy Fourth of July celebration.

Randy “Country” Seal is the sheriff of Washington Parish.