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Celebrating our Nation’s freedom

Submitted Photo Re-enactors display cannon-firing techniques at Shiloh National Military Park.

As evidenced by the responses to this week’s McNairy Voices, Independence Day has many different levels of meaning.

On a more mundane level, it means a day off work, picnics, parades and fireworks.

On a deeper level, it means appreciating the freedoms we have and the sacrifices of those who won and kept them for us.

We commemorate the Fourth of July here by taking a look back at its origins.

The event we celebrate is the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 by the Continental Congress, the governing body of the United States from 1775 to 1788.

The declaration legally severed all ties between the American states and the British crown and set forth the reasons for this action.

It was motivated by the belief that the Stamp Act, a direct tax imposed on the colonies, was unconstitutional because it taxed the colonists without representation.

It originated with a resolution by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented to the congress on June 7, 1776 stating: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance from to the British Crown and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

Lee’s resolution was authorized when the Virginia Convention passed a resolution instructing its delegates to propose “to declare the United Colonies free and independent states.”

The Congress appointed a committee of five representatives to draft a statement  presenting the case for independence to the world.

The Congress appointed John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Thomas Jefferson to this committee.

The other members of the committee asked Jefferson to actually draft the document. 

Jefferson submitted a draft to Franklin and Adams and after incorporating their suggestions sent it on to the full committee.

On July 2, 1776, the Lee resolution was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, with New York not voting. The New York Convention approved the declaration on July 9.

The declaration was one more step in a process that led to the independence of the United States.

In 1774, the First Continental Congress sent King George III a petition for the redress of grievances.

The king had not replied to this petition by the time the Second Continental Congress convened in May 1775. 

In June 1775, they established a continental army and currency. The following month they established a post office for the country.

In August 1775, a proclamation by the king declared the colonies to be in “open and avowed rebellion.”

On May 10, 1776, the congress passed a resolution on the formation of local governments.

The promise of independence was only realized after a bloody eight-year war.

There will be plenty of activities celebrating our nation’s independence over the 4th of July weekend in and around McNairy County.

Shiloh National Military Park

July 2-3: Cannon Firing Demonstrations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

Pickwick Landing State Park

July 4: Firework show will begin at 9 p.m. at Pickwick Lake.

Selmer Parks and Recreation Freedom Festival:

July 4: Parade will begin at 12 p.m. at the courthouse and will conclude at the city park.

Children’s parade will begin at 1 p.m. at the city park.

Selmer Idol Finals begin at 2 p.m. 

Rena Ray and the Mix will begin performing at 5:30 p.m. and their show will run until 8 p.m.

Firework show begins at 9 p.m.

Food and Drink vendors will be set up at the city park all day, along with arts and crafts booths.

Ramer Independence Day Parade

The parade will start are 10 a.m. at the Ramer Quick-Stop and will conclude at the Ramer City Park. It will include floats, horses, 4-wheelers, and vintage automobiles. After the parade, festivities will be held at the city park, and the Ramer Volunteer Fire Department will be serving barbeque with all the trimmings. 

McNairy County Fire Chief Daryl Goodrum wishes everyone a happy 4th of July but wants everyone to make sure to be careful with their fireworks over Independence Day weekend.

“Everything has been really dry, so people need to know to be very careful with their fireworks,” said Goodrum. “Watch where fireworks are landing and don’t shoot them at buildings, around heavily forested areas, or in  really dry fields.”


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