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Joe McQuaid - Publisher's Notebook: The 4th a gift we must cherish, protect


Happy 4th of July. It's a great American holiday because it celebrates a great birthday but you don't have to get anyone a present. The present is the United States of America and the givers, with names like Sam and John and Ben, and Tom, George, and Harry, have gone to their rewards.

It is up to us, though, to keep the gift from being broken, muddied, or forgotten outside in the rain. As the Ben guy (Franklin, I think) said when asked what had come from the constitutional convention that followed the fight that followed the Declaration of Independence, "A republic, if you can keep it."

And one of the Johns (Adams, perhaps?) wrote to his wife (not in a text message but an honest-to-goodness letter with ink and everything) that the 4th should be annually celebrated with pomp, circumstance, and fireworks. Gee, today's Massachusetts authorities would have chased Adams clear over the New Hampshire border if he had tried promoting that fireworks stuff today.

The Union Leader will have the 4th off as well. We will publish such Thursday features as the Weekend section on Wednesday, when we will also reprint, on this very page, that aforementioned Declaration. Read it to your kids. Read it to yourself. It's pretty cool.

I'm guessing it must also drive crazy the same people who object to the little prayer we carry on the front page each weekday. The Declaration has these politically incorrect references to "Nature's God" and our "Creator." Wow.

That's as non-PC as Nik Wallenda on his tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon last week. I was interested to see if the followup news coverage would quote what Wallenda was saying as he made his way over that incredible chasm.

What he said, repeatedly, in a quiet but strong voice, was "Thank you, Jesus," and "Thank you, Lord."

Afterwards, Wallenda explained that he finds it "peaceful and relaxing and He's the only one up there listening to me." He added, "My life is based on my faith. I guess the biggest role that it plays is that if I do fall and die I know where I'm going."

I didn't see any reference to this in big media, which doesn't surprise me. I think if the network news stations were covering the first readings of the Declaration (one was done right here in New Hampshire, at Exeter) they would have either gone to commercial or bleeped out that "Creator" stuff.

The paper takes the 4th off. No print edition. But you can check in with UnionLeader.com for breaking New Hampshire news on the holiday. And New-Hampshire.com will have the list of city and town fireworks displays and assorted holiday doings. Happy Birthday, America.

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Write to Joe McQuaid at publisher@unionleader.com. Follow him on Twitter at @deucecrew.

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