Nation’s heroes should be honored year-round
From solemn to spectacular, the nation marked its independence with the reopening of the Statue of Liberty for the first time since Superstorm Sandy; extravagant fireworks that included a 19-burst salute to Arizona’s fallen firefighters; and a musical tribute in Washington to those affected by the Boston Marathon bombing.
Four barges carrying 40,000 shells on the Hudson River unleashed a barrage of brilliant reds, whites and blues — some in shapes and smiley faces — as spectators marveled at the famed New York fireworks display.
Earlier Thursday, hundreds lined up to be among the first to board boats destined for Lady Liberty, which opened for the first time since it was shuttered by Sandy.
In Prescott, Ariz., celebrations were more subdued, as a fire chief read the names of the 19 firefighters killed last weekend battling a wildfire while 19 single fireworks burst overhead.
In Washington, thousands gathered on the National Mall to ring in the Fourth of July with fireworks and music as Neil Diamond sang “Sweet Caroline” in tribute to victims and survivors of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing.
Nationwide, Philadelphia, Washington and New Orleans hosted large holiday concerts. A Civil War re-enactment commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg drew as many as 40,000 people to Pennsylvania.
Here at home, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stopped by the Southwest Louisiana War Veterans Home in Jennings on Wednesday to award medals to 45 local heroes. The celebration was just one of many, as the City of Jennings, as well as Elton and Lake Arthur, hosted their own Independence Day activities throughout the week and well into the weekend.
All in all, celebrations throughout the parish, state and nation reminded its residents to be thankful for today’s liberties. But freedom doesn’t just come once a year; freedom is enjoyed every day thanks to those who have paid – as well as those who continue to pay – the ultimate price. Please take the time to honor the members of our military, past and present, who sacrificed with their service throughout the year.
With so many ways to do so (see today’s page one story about the local veterans home), we can do so much more for our nation’s heroes than lighting up the skies with fireworks and firing up the pits for barbecue once a year.
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