Enjoy the day but practice some caution


There’s really no arguing how significant a holiday Independence Day is every year for this community.

The Fourth of July is the ultimate in summer experiences, and we consider ourselves the ultimate place to be during the summer. Fireworks exploding over historical buildings certainly has its charm, but is there really anything better than watching them paint the night’s sky over the ocean? A week at the beach with one’s family to celebrate July 4 is no doubt a better experience than jamming everybody into a car, sitting in traffic for several hours and watching the fireworks at a park, right?

Right.

But we all know that this is a holiday that involves much more than just fireworks. There are also picnics, volleyball games, barbecues and parties. All of those events just scream “summer,” but they also often come with alcohol.

We ask that all of you use your best judgement over the holidays. Police agencies across the state have announced over and over again that there will be a significant police presence on the roads for July 4th, and a DUI arrest or accident is a good way to ruin the holiday — not just for yourself, but for all those who share the roads with you.

If you choose to drink over the holiday, enjoy yourself, but do so with caution. Use a designated driver, call a cab or use the Black Pearl (see page B12 of this week’s paper). If you’re at somebody’s house for a party, stay on a couch. Do something. Just do not drive under the influence of alcohol on our streets.

Of course, drunk driving is not the only danger to consider over this holiday. Many people choose to celebrate by letting off their own fireworks. We ask that those of you who participate in that do so with extreme caution and care, and only in areas (or states) that allow such activity.

We all want a holiday to remember, but let’s try to keep the memories good ones.

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Besides the obvious Fourth of July events, there is much more to enjoy in our community while on vacation — or if you live here and just feel like taking advantage of all that is around us. Get out and enjoy the bays and ocean. Take a kayak ride in the canal. Eat at some of the best seafood restaurants you will find in the nation. Shop some of the local stores.

There are unique places to visit in the area, and many of them are locally-owned small businesses. This area’s economy, and overall health, is centered around local businesses.

Yes, we constantly harp in this space about how important it is to “shop local,” but that is because it is important. Small businesses are the very backbone of this nation, and we ask all of you to think “local” when shopping.