Like the independence of our nation, Jefferson City's Independence Day celebration has strengthened and grown over time.
Although the history of our nation - which has expanded from its original 13 states in 1776 to 50 states today - is measured in centuries, our local festivities are measured in years.
Those years, however, mark a milestone this week as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Salute to America.
During that decade, the event has grown consistently and now is a two-day celebration featuring ever-increasing entertainment, activities and family-oriented fun.
"Family friendly" is an oft-repeated phrase, but what does it mean?
Key components are activities and entertainment that attract people of varying ages.
Carnival rides, a Kids Zone and a stage featuring rising young musical performers are designed for youngsters.
Teens will be attracted to Absolute Sports, including motorcycle high jumps and skateboard demonstrations, and a variety of concerts.
Historians will be treated to re-enactments, performances and tours at the Heritage Village.
And events that appeal to people of all ages will be sandwiched between opening ceremonies with a patriotic theme Wednesday evening through Thursday's nights fireworks display.
A celebration of this magnitude does not happen spontaneously. It is a result of much time, effort and expense by community-minded sponsors, organizers and volunteers.
Salute to America is their gift to the community, and everyone is invited to participate.
Our nation's independence is cause for celebration. And while we celebrate, let us remain mindful that independence also must be cherished and preserved.