John Adams on Independence Day in 1776 “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.” Adams believed correctly and Americans have made sure that like all other holidays, the 4th is based in tradition. For years, my family and friends have woken up early to set up chairs and blankets at the Park District to secure a spot for the area’s best fireworks show. In 2013, it appears that the tradition may have to end. The Park District, in collaboration with the Mayor and Police Department, has cancelled the festivities ten months in advance. This news has been disheartening to a large group in town and I hope that I can express their feelings.

A few bad events have scarred the perception of a great event put on by the Park District. The fireworks, bingo, egg toss, and music made it enjoyable for all ages and a great time to spend with neighbors. I was proud of my town for continuing the events and showing that tradition could not be trampled by negativity.

Last week, the negativity won, and I sure am curious who surrendered. I certainly hope that the law enforcement is not responsible. Of course it is a challenge to deal with large crowds during events but that is the reason police exist, to serve and protect the innocent citizens of our town. I hope that it is not the Village, because our town is defined by the festivals that we host and is the basis for our small town charm. And I certainly hope that the Park Board regrets its decision because they see how important it is to the citizens every year. There is a lot of time for the decision to be overturned.

I call on the people of Forest Park to voice your demands, much like John Adams once did, and contact the Village and the Park Board to encourage that they change their minds. The 4th of July is a celebration of democracy and this is the time to use it. Next July, my family will continue the tradition of setting up chairs and celebrating at the park. Now it’s up to the Park District to uphold its end of the tradition.

Bring back the fireworks.

Matt Walsh
Forest Park