Spinal Column: Fourth of July is about celebrating freedom

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Our nation’s next great holiday, Independence Day, is right around the corner. The Fourth of July is a remembrance of what we as a nation set out to be and a rousing celebration of what we have become. It is the day we commemorate the freedom won by patriots of old.

The Fourth of July celebrates the grand experiment in liberty that is America, and it has come to mean hot dogs, baseball, swimming, fishing, apple pie, parades, and — of course — fireworks.

It is also a day for traditions. One popular tradition is for communities and volunteers to place American flags on the graves of veterans as a tribute to our fallen heroes and in remembrance of the true cost of freedom. I encourage you to join with your community and celebrate the liberty we hold dear.

Perhaps you’ll be out boating and swimming in one of the Great Lakes this Fourth of July or enjoying one of our thousands of inland lakes. Michigan’s lakes are a treasure, and swimming in them is one of the joys of summer.

If you do plan to spend time on the water on the Fourth of July or later this summer, I encourage you to take the necessary precautions to make it a safe and fun experience. Take swimming lessons, follow local safety guidelines and look out for powerful rip currents.

If you are looking for local parades or fireworks displays on Independence Day, the websites OaklandCountyBlog.com and OaklandCountyMoms.com can help. Just search for “Fourth of July” or “Independence Day.”

Whether you are celebrating at a picnic or parade, on a river or a lake, or enjoying a big fireworks display or your own fireworks, remember to stay safe this holiday. If you are out in the summer sun and heat, make sure to apply sunscreen (especially on children) and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

If you are using your own fireworks, obey all local laws regarding their use. Always use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles. Keep a bucket of water nearby, and do not experiment with homemade fireworks. These tips and others can be found at FireworksSafety.org.

This Independence Day, celebrate summertime in Michigan and the freedom that makes that celebration possible. Have a fun, safe Fourth of July.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.