Happy Fourth of July! Summer is moving right along; before you know it the calendar will read Labor Day. Let's be careful out there, not only on the highway, but with all the summer activities and especially setting off fireworks.
The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off July 4, 1777. Before the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Adams, in a letter to his wife, proclaimed the occasion should be celebrated "With pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other — from this time forward forever more." His wife Abigail Adams received the letter July 1773.
The first rockets red, white and blue glare of the night sky occurred in Philadelphia. The celebration that was encouraged by John Adams. The Pennsylvania Evening Post wrote, "The evening in Philadelphia was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks which began and concluded with 13 rockets of the commons and the City was beautifully illuminated. Everything was conducted with the greatest of order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal." The celebration John Adams penned to his wife four years earlier brought to life.
That same year in Boston, fireworks also lit up the night sky. They were credited to have been exhibited by Colonel Thomas Craft over the common.
The tradition continued to expand and by 1783 a large variety of fireworks and exhibition of fireworks were available to the citizens of the original thirteen colonies. Our Country has turned the Fourth of July, Independence Day, into a celebration of life, liberty and happiness that has continued to grow right to the present.
The Fourth has become a day for picnics, ball games and bonfires just like John Adams envisioned to his wife three years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That's pretty remarkable. I wonder if he anticipated so much Sam Adams would be consumed to celebrate that pursuit of happiness. Americans spend over $1.5 billion on beer alone over the Fourth of July holiday.
I think it's safe to say Americans have always enjoyed a drink, celebration or not, even during the days of Prohibition.
Tip of the Uncle Sam hat to Dan Farr and Backyard Broadcasting, the City of Williamsport and all who help with our area’s annual “Set the Night to Music” Fourth of July celebration. The fireworks are always amazing. This year will be the 22nd year of the All-American event. Make sure you get out and enjoy all the festivities.
Tip of the Little Mountaineer Little League cap to 12-year-old Grant Bachman. Grant is the son of Mike and Cathy Bachman. A couple years back we put a Webb Weekly God Bless America sign that also mentions my Dad having been a former Southside Little Leaguer on the scoreboard beyond the centerfield fence.
Dave Geise, The Sign Shop, did a great looking job on the sign. Dave has been active in a Little Mountaineer League for years. I told him at that time if anyone hits the sign with a home run it's worth a $100 gift card to Harder Sporting Goods courtesy of Webb Weekly and my good friend Scott Niklaus at Harders.
Well, it has taken a couple seasons, but Grant changed that with a leadoff homer as his Lions team managed by Marc Storms took on Labels by Pulizzi. Pulizzi’s manager Chris Lusk was good enough to inform young Mr. Bachman about the Ben Franklin that went along with the big fly nailing the sign.
I had the pleasure to meet and talk with Grant; he is a fine young man. His parents can be proud. On the diamond Grant can be found playing shortstop, catcher or pitcher. He has hit 12 homers during his Little League days at Lions Field. Grant looks forward to the all-star season. However, he informed me his favorite sport is basketball.
His favorite teacher at South is Mrs. Karen Fink. I have known her and husband Tom as long as I can remember. Their son Ryan just finished up the high school season playing at Loyalsock with Hunter. It’s a small baseball world.
I must also take a moment to give a special shout out to Mr. Jamie Flick, Mr. Dave Geise and all Southside Little League folks who made Lions Field one of the finest Little League ball parks you will ever see. What a project they took on about five seasons back. RD Slingerland and his crew helped make it the field of dreams that it is.
Back to that Webb Weekly sign on the scoreboard. My offer still stands, and yes, it can occur in an All-Star game. If Grant goes yard and hits it again he can also win another gift card to Harders.
There's nothing better than Little League baseball, all the home runs and that special time in the child and parents life.
God Bless America.