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Celebrate and honor Independence Day at one of the gatherings across Alabama

July 4, 2026, will mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the most pivotal moment in our nation’s history. The execution of this declaration marked our independence from Great Britain and laid the foundation for the creation of the United States of America.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “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.”

America’s Declaration of Independence sparked a revolution in the hearts and minds of our countrymen. As a daily reminder of this bold and courageous action, I have a 48” x 54” reproduction of the Declaration of Independence on display in my office. I received this copy for achieving the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge when I was 13. My mother had it framed for me, and it has been on the wall in every office I have occupied, from the SGA President’s office at The University of Alabama to my legislative office in the State House, the Secretary of State’s Office at the Capitol, and now here at my office in Birmingham with Waggoner Engineering.

It is important to remember how our nation was created and why we are the United States of America. We must recall the sacrifices made to secure our freedom and the seminal events that helped to shape our identity and create and nurture the ideals and basic moral tenants we live by today. As time passes, many may forget the significance of days like Pearl Harbor, D-Day, President Kennedy’s assassination, September 11, Independence Day, Veterans Day, or Memorial Day, but it’s of the utmost importance to never forget these events.

Independence Day is more than just a day for good food and fireworks; it’s a day to celebrate our nation’s independence and honor the brave men and women who fought for our freedom. We should make a conscious effort to celebrate Independence Day every July 4th with patriotism and remembrance.

Every Independence Day, I visit several community events across Alabama’s 67 counties, and some of the events include those at:

  • Oxford Lake (Calhoun County)
  • American Village in Montevallo (Shelby County)
  • Annual Fourth of July Breakfast at Henagar Community Center (DeKalb County)
  • Sand Mountain Potato Festival (DeKalb County)
  • Stars & Stripes Forever Celebration (Madison County, now the Star Spangled Celebration)
  • Spirit of America Festival (Morgan County)
  • The Tuscaloosa Symphony presentation at the Mercedes Benz Amphitheater (Tuscaloosa County) and many others.

When deciding how you and your family will celebrate Independence Day, consider visiting the festivals and celebrations in your county. No matter how you recognize Independence Day on July 4th, please take a moment to recognize those who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so that we can celebrate with our friends and family.

John H. Merrill served in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010-2014 and as Alabama’s 53rd Secretary of State from 2015-2023.

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