Tuesday, with fun, fireworks and great fanfare, we celebrated our nation's 241st Independence Day. 

Perhaps area residents joined the fun at Twin Hills Park, with food, the North Okaloosa Community Band and then of course, beautiful fireworks. Hopefully, everyone got a head start and went to the Lifepoint Church annual Independence Day celebration with food, music and fabulous fireworks on Sunday. What a wonderful gift Lifepoint offers to the community each year.

Independence Day came about because American colonists were tired of England taxing them and having no say in the taxation. The phrase "no taxation without representation" became the slogan that many used as an indication of their unhappiness with England and having no representation in the English government. It seems as though politicians, even today, like to raise taxes and pass laws in which their citizens have no say.

The Continental Congress, a group of men elected to the task of forming a new nation, appointed five members to draft the Declaration of Independence: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who was the author of our Declaration of Independence. James Madison was the "father" of our Constitution.

The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration on July 4, 1776. The colonists were declaring their independence from King George III and Great Britain. They wanted freedom and sovereignty over themselves to be an independent nation. John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress, was the first signer of the document and signed his name in large letters. This is why a signature is often referred to as a "John Hancock" today.

Here is the title and first paragraph of our Declaration: "Action of Second Continental Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America, WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation."

Let's give thanks to our country's founders for the freedoms that we enjoy here. God bless America!

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.