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Our View: Fourth festivities

Ashland boasts many memorable activities during the year, including parades at Halloween and the Grand Illumination at Christmas. But nothing approaches the all-out enthusiasm of Independence Day, with its parade, street vendors and evening fireworks.

It all kicks off with a 2-mile fun run and a 10-kilometer race in the morning, followed by the legendary parade at 10 a.m.. Following the parade, musical performances will take place in the Butler Bandshell in Lithia Park — it's the park's 100th anniversary this year, along with the nation's 240th.

While we tend to romanticize the American Revolution and imagine that all the colonists were united in seeking to break away from England and form a new nation, there were divisions even then. And in recent years, our political divisions seem to have pushed us farther apart than ever.

But we can come together once a year at least to celebrate the principles of self-government and representative democracy that continue to make this country an example to the world, despite our internal differences. So let's spend this weekend celebrating together, even while we know we'll still disagree on many things when the festivities are over.

Speaking of festivities: Be careful with holiday revelry; police say July 4th is a big holiday for drunken driving, and they will be watching. And remember that personal fireworks are banned throughout Ashland. The only legal devices are smoke bombs, snakes and party poppers.

Please don't ruin a great time by putting the entire community at risk.