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Appreciating those who make it happen

Our annual celebration of the birth of our nation is fast approaching.

In the coming days, various festivities will begin in our communities, with live music, games, parades and more filling our streets, parks and other community common spaces.

Wellsburg has a week-long celebration, beginning Monday, with nightly concerts in Central Park, volleyball at the Crooked Dock, corn hole at Central Park, free activities for the kids on several days at 4th Ward Park, a Duck Derby July 3 at Sixth Street Wharf, the Oil Can Derby, a 5K run and walk, parade and more.

Chester has a full day of events on July 4, with its traditional duck race, a car show organized by the Lions Club, the parade and fireworks among the events planned.

Weirton, meanwhile, has a variety of events coming July 2, with its Independence Day parade kicking things off at 10 a.m. and a street festival in front of the Millsop Community Center beginning at noon and continuing through to the fireworks display at 10 p.m.

It’s a time we come together to celebrate the nation, our people and our communities. A time to, hopefully, put aside the political division that has consumed so much of our lives, at least for a little while to find some commonality in what makes us all Americans.

Of course, none of it would be possible without those of our neighbors who step forward each year to make it happen.

Staff with the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation, for example, organizes Weirton’s Independence Day parade each year, reaching out to local civic groups, businesses, schools and other organizations in an effort to bring in participants.

Members of Renaissance Weirton and city municipal staff have been putting together the festivities for Weirton’s 75th anniversary celebration.

Chester and Wellsburg each have residents come together in committees to organize their various events.

I’m willing to bet few of them ever receive the thanks they deserve for making it all happen.

Every activity in our area takes months of work in order to make it happen. Most of the time, the events are planned by volunteers, people from the community who have stepped forward because they want to see these activities happen, whether it is a large, week-long celebration, a church picnic, a day-long street fair or a parade.

I’ve seen first-hand some of that work over the years. It’s not easy to put these events together. Many need support from our local businesses and residents. They need people willing to give of their time in an effort to give back to others. Neither of those are guaranteed, but, at the same time, people often expect the events to be held because of long-standing tradition.

Someone has to plan, organize and implement the live musical performances set to take the stages in the coming days. Someone has to put together the parades, the car shows, the contests, get the vendors signed up and lined up, contact fireworks companies and make certain every I is dotted and T is crossed.

They deserve the recognition for their work, and I would encourage everyone, as they are preparing their holiday celebrations, planning to go to their local parades and festivals, setting up a chair for the Wheeling Symphony or stepping up to enter one of the contests, consider finding those responsible for making it all happen and offer your thanks.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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