06-29-11-every-day-is-july-4.jpgIn 1941 Congress declared July 4th a national holiday. We can’t be sure what Congress had in mind, but today, communities across the country celebrate with parades and picnics, fi reworks and barbecues. Growing up, my family went to our uncle’s cabin on the lake in Southwick, Mass. We enjoyed watermelon, water skiing, hot dogs and hamburgers and of course the burnt marshmallows on a stick after the coals were smoldering out. The adults gathered in their areas while the cousins swam, played chase or fought to be the driver of the boat. Darkness came and we sat back as we watched the fi reworks in the sky. As we age into teenagers and adults, our memories fade and new ones are created.

Seventy years after the fi rst July 4th national holiday, I celebrate America’s Independence in Fayetteville, N.C., with the men and women who defend the freedoms we enjoy in the community where N.C., ratifi ed the Constitution. In 2010, Fox News said Fort Bragg’s fi reworks are among the nation’s best. Fort Bragg has achieved the Army’s Excellence Award and now the National Civic league awards Fayetteville an All-America City designation.

Coming home from Kansas City, where Fayetteville received the All-America City award, my taxi driver, who was from Albania but had lived in Kansas City for the last 15 years, was telling me the story of living in a communist country through the 1990s. He worked a government job, drove a government car and lived in a government housing development. Today, smiling, he has built a successful transportation company and other ventures and says he is living the American dream. I listened in awe as the appreciation of the United States of America was further ingrained in mind, body and soul.

From July 1-4, Cumberland County has a plethora of Americana activities to satisfy any taste or budget. Please utilize the wonderful resources available at www.VisitFayettevilleNC.com. You can check out the calendar of events or use any of our planning tools to customize a weekend for you and your friends or family. Remember, we have 6,000 rooms, so you can let the community entertain you and the hotels house your guests. No mess no fuss.

While online, take a second to “like” the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Face Book page to keep up with community happenings. Better yet, get involved with our sister projects of the Army’s Army.com or FayettevilleWantsYou.com.

Get F.I.T. without dieting by being a friend in tourism or a watcher in the group organized to show the world why we are America’s First Military Sanctuary and are committed to watching over those who watch over us.

In the near future, our community will host the Heroes Crusade — an athlete’s campaign. This three-day event includes a rugby tournament, a golf tournament and a walk, bike or run event and leads into the activities of Heroes Homecoming. During the 10 days of Heroes Homecoming, Cumberland County will celebrate the Vietnamese culture and present a Veterans Day weekend that honors the nation’s Vietnam Veterans.

As we look into the future, we can see that Cumberland County is all American. Spring Lake EDC is working hard to provide a plan that furthers their efforts and helps that city achieve its American Dream. Hope Mills is growing fast and adding many beautiful homes, restaurants and a new movie theater. At 10 a.m. on the 4th of July, Hope Mills will host a fun celebration. I look forward to the day when their lake is restored, and I am laying back, watching their fireworks. Life will have come full circle.

In the meantime, help us to help you. Learn about the community’s attributes and invite people to visit. Last year, our residents saved $93 in their tax bills because of visitor tax generation. We all win if United We Stand.

May God Bless you and yours for a safe and fruitful summer.

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