If you’re looking for something to do this July 4, we hope it’s not fireworks that you’re looking for. This year, Independence Day celebrations will run the gamut from this weekend to next and all points of light in between, but the only one set to go off on July 4 is at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg.

In Winchester, Va., an Independence Day fireworks show will be held on July 3, while the show at Antietam National Battlefield is slated for July 7, next weekend. Closer to home, Jefferson County’s Park and Recreation Board will host a fireworks show this weekend at Sam Michael’s Park.

The reason given for scheduling fireworks on a weekend is understandable — late shows make for late nights’ out and people do have to go to work the next day — but scheduling the event on a weekend makes of a midweek July 4 itself a day to do not much else but go shopping.

Americans use the terms Independence Day and the Fourth of July interchangeably. Indeed, for many Americans the holiday is simply, “the Fourth of July.”

What then of celebrating it on the 3rd or 7th? Or the 30th day of June? Picking any day of the week except Independence Day itself calls to mind the protest by veterans organizations who would like to see the commemoration of Memorial Day restored to May 30 in rejection of accommodationists who have let the holiday be blunted for the sake of a three-day weekend.

But, despite our protesting, those who select other days enjoy precedent. In 1779, the holiday fell on a Sunday, so Independence Day was celebrated a day later. Meanwhile, historians tell us the Declaration of Independence was actually signed on August 2. Try making a song lyric rhyme with that.

Nevertheless, our hats are off to the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks board for sticking to its guns — and tradition — and keeping the Fourth of July on the fourth of July.


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