One of my favorite bits of historic trivia is that the 2nd and 3rd Presidents of the United States (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, of which both were signers. Adams and Jefferson came from vastly different political persuasions, were sometimes friends and often rivals, but both were important framers of our nation’s democratic republic. The Founding Fathers left us a legacy and a blueprint for self-government that remains unrivaled in the world today. There is much for us as Americans to be proud of and good reason to celebrate the nation’s 243rd birthday.
Each year more than $600 million is spent on fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. Massachusetts was the first state to make the fourth a holiday in 1781, the same year that George Washington gained the surrender of British General Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown and two years before the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the War for Independence in 1783. Congress declared the Fourth of July a national holiday in 1870. The parking lot at Weiser High School has become a site that some local citizens use to celebrate the Fourth of July, setting off fireworks, while waiting for the local fireworks display.
The Weiser Board of Trustees is not opposed to the use of the facility for this purpose but we do ask people who choose to use the parking lot for their celebrations to follow a few simple guidelines:
· Please stay as far away from the buildings as possible
· Please pick up and dispose of your refuse at the end of the evening
· Please use only legal fireworks – meaning non-aerial fireworks. Non-aerial is defined in Idaho Code (39-2602) as “any fireworks designed to remain on or near the ground and not to travel outside a fifteen (15) foot diameter circle or emit sparks or other burning material which lands outside a twenty (20) foot diameter circle or above a height of twenty (20) feet”.
Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor but a more important consideration is simply to protect the high school facility from any unintended fire hazards. We share in the desire of the public to celebrate the Fourth of July in customary ways, but we would also like to protect our schools from any dangerous fireworks displays. We thank you for your cooperation in participating in safe and enjoyable ways to celebrate the nation’s birthday, its democratic traditions, and its tenets of personal freedom and responsibility.
Wil Overgaard, Superintendent