Today is the Fourth of July. Independence Day.
It marks the 233rd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, one of the cornerstone documents of our nation.
It proclaimed that the 13 original colonies were free from the heavy hand of the British king.
The opening statement in the document contains a reference to God.
"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."
It continues with this stirring reference of rights given by the Creator: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness," The Statesman Journal reports.
Independence Day is not just any holiday.
It is the national commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia.
Although its signing was not completed until August, the Fourth of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States' independence.
The first Independence Day celebration took place the following year on July 4, 1777.
By the early 1800s, the traditions of parades, picnics and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America's birthday.
Those types of celebrations continue today.
Locally, fireworks were held last night in Charleroi and are planned this evening in Monongahela.
As we celebrate during picnics and gatherings with family and friends today, we might want to take a moment to explain to our children the importance of the day.
It commemorates the courage and faith of our founding fathers in their pursuit of liberty, The Monessen Valley Independent reports.
Russian officials have repeatedly declared that Israeli aviation poses a threat to the Russian military in Syria.