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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Nowak: Independence Day celebrations need rotation

  • Back in the early 1970's when we were stationed in Germany, we discovered that there was a fest in many small towns on a different weekend all season long.
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  • Back in the early 1970's when we were stationed in Germany, we discovered that there was a fest in many small towns on a different weekend all season long. Every weekend you could go to some village and enjoy a beer fest or a wine fest, eat pickled herring, cheeses, brats, etc. and definitely meet a lot of local folks.
    My work schedule did not allow for regular weekend feasting, but I did come to the conclusion very quickly that we should do something similar in America relative to our Independence Day celebrations.
    It does not make economic sense for every community in the United States to have a major celebration on the 4th of July. Spread out the celebratory weekends all summer long and that will also spread out the economic benefits.
    Besides, each town has something special that it would like to put out for the public to see and enjoy. Declare whatever weekend to be your local Independence Day celebration and bring out the fireworks, the marching bands or local musicians to play patriotic music, have great food and games, etc.
    Personally, I would ban the local sale of fireworks, but that is just me, your local curmudgeon when it comes to fireworks. I do realize that these local sales probably add some tax money to the local community and they certainly are an income source for whoever is selling them, but a letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star a few years ago from an Iraq War Veteran got me thinking about the effects that days of local bombs bursting in the air may have on veterans with certain symptoms.
    The writer explained that he really enjoys the evening fireworks display that is the official show, but he had a hard time dealing with the four or five days of explosions before and after the actual 4th of July because he had no idea when or where they might be going off.
    He also worried that he could virtually not escape anywhere in the U.S. during that time and not hear explosions for days.
    Backyard fireworks also sometimes lead to house fires and to personal injuries — often to children.
    Needless to say, this also has a bad effect on some of our pets who sometimes escape from their homes or backyards to run wild in a state of frenzy since there is really nowhere that they can go without hearing the fireworks for days.
    Recently, Lansing discussed the issue of celebrating Independence Day on a different weekend than the national celebration and the consensus seemed to be that people liked the idea, at least partially because they could also go up to the fort to see that big show.
    Page 2 of 2 - There is no need for Lansing and Leavenworth/Fort Leavenworth to compete for the crowds.
    Both communities put on a great show, but if they are both at the same time on the same day, then people have to choose one over the other.
    If each city in the county chose a different weekend, there could be five or six different shows and that almost covers the summer.
    By the way, as for banning fireworks in town, I grew up with that kind of ban in Trenton and that was about 60 years ago and I don't remember anyone having a problem with it.
    So, in my opinion, I hope to see each community celebrate Independence Day on a different weekend during the summer and I plan to be there when they do it.
    Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.

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