Celebrate July 4 with pride, safety

This region finally is getting a break from the persistent wet and windy — some people would say “nasty” — weather conditions that dominated much of the spring.

Fortunately, it’s just in time for the celebration of Independence Day.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of this region will escape rain or storms, but a better weather pattern is settling in that will afford residents and visitors the opportunity for enjoyment of the outdoors — doing the things that they look forward to doing at this time of the year.

Even if the weather isn’t the proverbial picture-perfect for Thursday’s national holiday, there’s hope nonetheless for swimming, picnics, fireworks and all of the other activities that make the holiday so special and, in most cases, pleasingly memorable.

“Hope” is the important word leading up to the holiday, but even more important is the word “safety.”

Make this Independence Day memorable for all the right reasons, not because of regret, temporary or permanent, that can be avoided.

Tragic highway accidents — one in Bedford County on June 20 that claimed two lives and one in New Hampshire on June 21 that claimed the lives of seven bikers — while not connected to tomorrow’s holiday, project the message to drive safely and defensively on this summer holiday when higher traffic volumes are the rule rather than the exception.

Safety-consciousness also must be the first concern of anyone using fireworks.

Last year was the first Independence Day celebration since the state began allowing residents to buy and use the full line of fireworks that comply with federal requirements for consumers. Unfortunately, there were more than a few instances of irresponsible use of the more powerful fireworks, both inside and outside of Altoona.

An article in the June 21 Mirror reported on Logan Township’s plan to be aggressive in fireworks-law enforcement this year.

“Citations (again) will be issued when necessary,” the article said.

Last year between June 23 and July 7, Logan officers fielded 27 fireworks complaints from residents and issued five citations and three warnings.

The township has amended its ordinance “Public Display of Fireworks” to try to avoid problems and nuisances like those encountered in 2018.

All other police departments in Blair County should make enforcement of fireworks rules and laws a priority in coming days.

Residents should be allowed to have fun, but that fun should not endanger others or others’ property — as well as oneself or one’s own property.

Beyond the highways and use of fireworks, emphasize safety when swimming, and be careful of the dangers that can ruin picnic and camping experiences.

Meanwhile, there is advice that oftentimes is overlooked during discussion of Independence Day safety precautions: People who attend community fireworks should be courteous to others wanting to watch the colorful displays.

Avoid arguments over parking places, for example.

Good advice is to not treat anyone else in a way that you would not want to be treated.

Independence Day is a colorful holiday, not only due to fireworks, but also because of the many flags that will adorn people’s property, especially if the weather cooperates.

Fly your flag proudly.

Hope for a great day, but make your commitment to safety a big part of achieving it, rain or shine.

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