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Our Opinion: Salute our nation’s ideals on July 4th

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

That powerful statement from our Declaration of Independence guarantees equality and enumerates fundamental freedoms.

This holiday weekend, as we pursue happiness at community festivals and family events, we encourage everyone to pause and consider the immeasurable gifts our nation’s founders — and the patriots who followed — fought to preserve.

Many Central Missourians will gather in downtown Jefferson City for this year’s installment of Salute to America.

This two-day Fourth of July celebration is your festival.

And — in keeping with the principles of equality and liberty — the festival is open to everyone and its major events — a parade, concerts and a fireworks display — are free.

Events are sponsored by a range of area businesses and the festival is directed by the 4th of July Foundation, a not-for-profit partnership among Jefferson City, Cole County, the state of Missouri and the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Festival-goers may encounter two complications this weekend, courtesy of Mother Nature.

The first — almost a perennial concern — is excessive heat. In response, officials caution people to keep hydrated, seek shade and access emergency services, if needed.

Another concern this year is the potential for flooding. As a precaution, officials will limit parking on the north side, a popular venue to watch the fireworks display.

Salute to America offers an opportunity to honor our nation’s founders by perpetuating and celebrating their ideals — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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