Friday's Weekend Column
The 4th of July

by James Glaser
July 4, 2003

Not many know this, but we are celebrating the Declaration of Independence today. It and the Bill of Rights are the documents that not only spell out why we wanted to break away from England and their monarchy, but also sets up the premise that people have certain "unalienable rights" given to us by our Creator.

This was a new concept and was the first time a group of people got together to create a government with the thought written right in the law from the beginning, that the government derives its power from the consent of the governed. It also states right from the start that if the government "becomes destructive," starts to taking rights away from the people, "it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it."

We, you and I and our children are the owners of this country. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are not given to us by Washington. No, here in the United States we believe, at least some of us believe, that those rights were given to all men by God. Washington doesn't have the right to take those rights away from us even if they claim we will be safer.

So today people will shoot off rockets and have parades, families will get together and eat way too much, and a good time will be had by most. Charmaine and I will be going to Big Falls, a town on the bank of the Big Fork river, thirty miles north of here. The population of the town is about 150, but for the 4th it could swell to over a thousand. They always have a great parade for both the kids and adults. There will be logging demonstrations and contests.

We will see old friends from there and some that come from hundreds of miles away. I might try a few games of horse shoes, while Charmaine plays bingo. Big Falls is known for their fire works display, the best in Minnesota. What makes them so fine is that you are almost right on top of them when they are set off. You can watch the local volunteer fire department as they light each one and they go on for a long time.

Big Falls does not have a water falls, but it does have an incredible rapids right in town and it is a real hoot to watch people try to make it through in a canoe or kayak. There is a park/campgrounds all along the rapids and we will buy some hot sandwiches, sit on a blanket in the shade, and watch the younger kids give those rapids a try.

The fire works start about ten and after that we both will be ready to head home. If it is nice out, a midnight swim would really top the day off.

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