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ew Albany is hosting an event this weekend that will provide plenty of entertainment and activities for almost anyone’s taste.

It should draw a good crowd, perhaps bringing visitors to our city.

Its focus is having a good time.

But there is much more to Independence Day than having a good time.

We are reminded of earlier FreedomFests where the emphasis was on the appreciation of the freedom we have and showing thanks to those who make such freedom possible. A sincere feeling of patriotism was central to those events.

Today, we more and more have a tendency to think of holidays as nothing but excuses to get off work and party.

Memorial Day is for cookouts, July 4 for fireworks, Labor Day for that last-gasp summer event. And most of the other holidays are not even on the radar as much as these are.

But these holidays all have meaning and were created for a purpose that was deemed both serious and important.

Perhaps it’s the divisiveness of our nation, the loss of respect for others, the lack of self-respect, but we have begun to take these holidays for granted.

Talk to a veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge or barely made it up Mt. Iwo Jima. Talk to one who was in the jungles of Viet Nam or even the more recent conflicts in the near and far East.

See what they gave to protect our independence and consider whether you would be even remotely capable of giving as much.

We fear that most of us would fall miserably short of the bar these veterans set.

It’s all right to go to carnivals and concerts and shoot fireworks.

But it’s also right to remember that the meanings behind the reasons for celebration are deadly serious, and were it not for them, our lives would be vastly different and not nearly as pleasant.

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