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Editorial: Have a safe Fourth

Fireworks explode over Worthington's Lake Okabena to celebrate Independence Day.

Our great nation is celebrating its 237th birthday on Thursday, and Americans will mark the day with plenty of reverly. A huge component of the cross-country party is, of course, fireworks.

"The day will be most memorable in the history of America," wrote John Adams on June 3, 1776, one day before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. "I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, bonfires and illuminations (fireworks) from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

In other words, fireworks have been a part of the Fourth of July since -- well -- the Third of July before our first Fourth. But even though "illuminations" have always been a part of this national holiday, they are often used with little attention to safety.

With that, we offer a few tips:

* Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

* Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

* Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

* Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

* Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

* Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

These and other safety tips can been seen at We hope everyone has a fun, festive -- and safe -- July 4.