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Independence Day a time to remember, reflect

(Courtesy Photo)

(Courtesy Photo)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Independence Day observes America's foundation and is a time to celebrate freedom and honors the sacrifices of American Airmen who defend the freedom the nation's forefathers fought hard to secure, resulting in a free, democratic republic.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, severing the colonies' ties to the British Crown. However, observing Independence Day became well known only after the War of 1812. Public ceremonies and civic events were soon scheduled to coincide with July 4th festivities and in 1870, Congress designated the Fourth of July a federal holiday.

According to the Air Force Public Affairs office, this year's theme is to honor, inspire and celebrate-honoring American Airmen as warriors, inspiring Airmen by the service of those who preceded them and celebrating America's independence.

Gen. John Hyten, Air Force Space Command commander, sent a message to Air Force Space Command Airmen, reminding everyone to remember current and past service members and what they have done for the nation.

"Please take time to reflect upon the freedoms that we all enjoy and honor the sacrifices of those who have defended and those who continue to defend those freedoms," he wrote. "This day commemorates the founding of our country and is a time for us to celebrate our freedom and independence."

Hyten also reminded everyone to enjoy the holiday safely. He stressed keeping in mind the dangers traditionally associated with the Independence Day holiday, such as the use of fireworks, water sport activities and overexertion in excessive heat.

Some tips to stay safe during the holiday include: keeping a supply of water close by when using fireworks, keeping children away from campfires and grills, and staying hydrated.

"Celebrate the birth of our nation with pride, but do it responsibly," Hyten said. "Use common sense and sound decisions to make this a great holiday."
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