By CRISTIN REECE
Americans this week are gearing up for the country’s 237th birthday on Thursday, July 4.
The city of Palestine is holding its annual fireworks display at dark on Thursday, in the open area near Story Intermediate School, 5300 North Loop 256 in Palestine.
Admission into the show is free and concessions will be available. City officials said visitors may bring their own non-alcoholic refreshments. Emergency personnel will be on hand during the city’s show.
“The city puts on a very extravagant fireworks display, and it grows every year,” City Emergency Management Coordinator Schelby Wells said. “It’s a fun, safe environment to celebrate the fourth of July.”
Wells reminds all residents it is against city ordinance to use fireworks inside the city limits. Violations are punishable with a fine of $250 plus court costs.
Federal establishments will be closed to observe the holiday, including local bank branches and the U.S. Postal Service. All entities should resume regular business hours and mail delivery on Friday.
Locally, the offices of the city of Palestine and Anderson County also will be closed on Thursday, but will reopen on Friday. City officials remind Palestine residents Thursday garbage pick up will not be canceled.
“We’ll be doing our regular Thursday pick up for the holiday,” Public Works Director Tim Perry said.
City, county and state law enforcement and court offices also will be closed on Thursday. Anyone needing emergency services can call 911.
The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4, 1776. These days, though, it’s not only a federal celebration.
And these days, according to the United States Census Bureau’s website www.census.gov, America’s birthday means a boost in both state and some foreign economies.
Total estimated production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2012 was 6.3 billion pounds. Texas is also one of the nation’s six states in which the value of broiler chicken production was estimated at $1 billion or greater between December 2011 and November 2012.
“Chances are good that the beef hot dogs, steaks, burgers and chicken on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which accounted for nearly one-sixth of the nation's total production,” the Census Bureau’s website states.
On a global scale, last year, the value of fireworks imported from China totaled $218.2 million, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($227.3 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $11.7 million in 2012, with Israel purchasing more than any other country ($2.5 million).
Dollar value of trade between the United States and the United Kingdom totaled $109.8 billion in 2012, making the British – American’s adversary in 1776 – this country’s sixth-leading trading partner today.