Independence day in the O.C.

By the time you read this, our official national day of celebration will be behind us, but our community will continue our celebrations of our special American freedoms throughout the weekend. This experiment in our government of the people, by the people, and for the people and the Declaration of Independence that established it is worthy of a great celebration.

 “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.”

This incredible document established the revolutionary idea that we have natural rights, rights of human existence, and not just freedoms granted or not by the government. For the first time in history, The Declaration laid the groundwork for a government that derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed.” We the people give the government its power not the other way around.

This explains the always fascinating story of the English military band playing “The World Turned Upside Down” after the British surrendered to end the Battle of Yorktown.

The Declaration of Independence did turn the world upside down and Americans have spent the last 243 years trying to work on the best way to handle this new reality and the freedoms and challenges that come with it.

One of the best ways we celebrate this new reality is to gather as one people in parks for picnics, around open spaces for fireworks displays, and marching in parades with lots of flags and red, white, and blue. We gather on boats out on lakes, in backyards over tasty barbecue spreads, and on our porches to watch all the fun celebrations of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Your fellow Americans here in Owen County have many gatherings still on tap for the weekend. Join them and celebrate together as one people.

The MYPath Trail System will be hosting their regular First Friday Walk from the YMCA to the MYPath Trailhead in Cooper Commons this afternoon. Meet at the Y at 4 p.m. and head over to the park. The 2 mile walk takes about an hour. Due to the expected heat, there will be a water stop along the way. Transportation will be provided to get back to the YMCA after the walk. But the big reward will await you at the end of the walk where the Civilian Brewing Corps will offer up some of their craft brewed root beer in refreshing root beer floats for all of the walkers. I’ll be there scooping the ice cream. Come enjoy a summer walk through Spencer and finish it off with a root beer float. I would call that a pursuit of happiness.

Later this evening, July 5th, the Owen County Bicentennial Committee, through the generous sponsorship of Cook Medical, will be hosting a fireworks show. Here’s the scoop from the Committee:

Owen County will have its first firework display in over 10 years!  The display will take place in the field between the Spencer Wal-Mart and The Owen County Family YMCA. Local law enforcement in conjunction with local fire departments, the Highway Department, and EMS have been working hard to prepare a safe and fun event the whole family can enjoy!  There will be seven designated parking areas that viewers can use to park and observe the display. Each designated parking area will be patrolled by local law enforcement and have a sheriff's deputy assisting with parking and exiting.  Specific rules will be enforced in the designated parking areas to ensure a safe and fun atmosphere.  The Designated parking areas are the following: The Owen County YMCA, The Spencer Wal-Mart, IU Health, Owen Valley Health Campus, IHC, Save-a-Lot, and The Owen Valley High School and Middle School. Designated parking areas will open to allow parking at 7:00 pm. Fireworks will begin at sunset. Portable bathroom facilities will be located in the High School and YMCA parking lots.  Bicentennial Ambassadors or Committee members wearing their bicentennial shirts will be posted at each parking entrance accepting donations for future Owen County firework displays. They will be holding a fireman’s boot and are the only official individuals receiving donations.

This first fireworks show in many years may involve some first year glitches. Please remain patient with the volunteers working to give you a good show. And please as you enter, make a donation to help us pay for another show next year. I hope our community can support an Independence Day fireworks celebration annually. Celebrate America. Boom!

The folks up in Gosport will be celebrating tomorrow, Saturday July 6th, at the 3rd Annual Patriotic Picnic. If you live in or around Gosport, head to the end of North Street to the new boat ramp at the Gosport Waterfront where the festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. Parking at the Waterfront is very limited so plan on leaving your cars up in town and walking or carpooling to get there. In addition to the free picnic there will be fireworks, music, a giant American flag cupcake cake, and another peaceful gathering of American citizens.

Your Owen County Community Foundation will be on hand to make a special grant presentation to the Gosport Waterfront Project as part of our 25th anniversary celebration.

We hope you had a great 4th and that you enjoy your continued celebrations of our great nation and all the people that make it happen.

Your OCCF is committed to helping our Owen County communities become better places to live, grow, work, and pursue happiness. We value community involvement and charitable spirit.

If you would like to know more about how you can invest in your community through your local OCCF, give me a call at 812-829-1725, email me at, visit us online at, or stop by and visit us in person at our office on the south side of the Courthouse Square, 60 E. Market Street in Spencer.