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Fourth of July

Fireworks.
Wikimedia Commons

By Carrie Pinkard

The United States of America is turning 243 years old this year, which means it’s time to celebrate.

All around the Tampa Bay area there are events where people can show off their patriotism. Below is a a list of things to do in the area, and what to listen to on WUSF/WSMR on your way there.

It was like a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock. Late on New Year's Eve 2010, thousands of birds rained from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas.

Some 5,000 red-winged blackbirds, European starlings, common grackles and brown-headed cowbirds suffered blunt-force trauma after colliding with cars, trees and buildings, an ornithologist from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission would tell National Geographic.

Tampa Bay Watch/Facebook

The Fourth of July brought a lot of debris to shorelines from people celebrating both on land and on the water. Tampa Bay Watch will be trying to put things right during its post-4th Coastal Cleanup on Saturday.

Wikimedia Commons

There was disappointment Wednesday night because the annual fireworks shows at Tampa’s Riverwalk and St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront did not go as planned.

Amir Kbah / flickr

Tampa police say a man was injured by celebratory gunfire while visiting Busch Gardens on July Fourth.

Activists in two separate protests against the Trump administration's immigration policies were arrested at the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday — one group unfurling a banner calling for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while in another act of defiance, a woman climbed the statue's base to protest immigrant family separations.

Thirty years ago, Morning Edition launched what has become an Independence Day tradition: familiar NPR voices reading the Declaration of Independence.

Below is the draft of the Declaration of Independence adopted by the Continental Congress 242 years ago in Philadelphia. It is read by NPR staff members in the accompanying audio.

AAA

The Fourth of July is a holiday notorious for increased drunk driving accidents, so AAA and Budweiser are teaming up to get people home for free if they've had too much to drink.

Tony Fischer/ Flickr

While Independence Day fireworks come with lots of bright colors and loud noises that wow humans, they also can create an unsafe environment for pets.

Military With PTSD

July 4th is Wednesday, but neighborhood fireworks displays often start days leading up to the holiday, and continue through the end of the weekend.

And those unexpected loud blasts and flashing lights can induce panic attacks for veterans who have PTSD.

Amir Kbah / flickr

Live music, parades and fireworks are among the many patriotic Independence Day events taking place across the Tampa Bay area this week.

Tampa Bay Area Offers Plenty to Do This Weekend

Jul 3, 2016
www.visittampabay.com

There will be tons to do this weekend all around the Tampa Bay area to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Former USF Football Player Shows Dangers of Fireworks

Jul 3, 2016
youtube.com

New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul released a public service announcement warning people of the dangers of handling fireworks this Fourth of July weekend.

AAA Predicts Record Fourth Of July Travel

Jul 1, 2016
AAA

The AAA automotive club projects nearly 43 million people will travel this Fourth of July weekend. The record-breaking number for this weekend means there will be a half million more travelers on the road and in the air than last year.

Tow-to-Go

This Fourth of July weekend, intoxicated drivers can get help getting off the road and getting home safely.

Tow-to-Go is a partnership between  AAA and BudLight. Matt Nasworthy, AAA's Traffic Safety Consultant, said impaired drivers can call this Friday through Sunday.

Oregon Department of Transportation

AAA expects more than 40 million Americans to drive at least 50 miles from home this 4th of July weekend. That's the most to travel since 2007.

With so many people on the highways, AT&T is asking drivers to put down their cell phones.

“Put it in a place where they can’t reach it and keep their eyes on the road. That’s our main message – is that we want people to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phone,” Karen McAllister, media relations manager for AT&T, said.

Associated Press

   While many people anticipate lighting fuses on the 4th of July, some people are encouraging the use of caution.

Ann Paul, of the Audubon Society--an organization that aims to conserve ecosystems, said that birds are often unintentional casualties of the bombs bursting in air. 

She said that baby birds can be separated from their family  while trying to flee the sound of fireworks.

Paul also said that protecting American wildlife is one of the most patriotic things a person can do. 

AAA and Bud Light are offering their free Tow to Go program this Fourth of July weekend to keep drunk drivers away from the steering wheel.  AAA encourages all motorists who plan on drinking to secure a designated driver, but spokesman Matt Nasworthy knows that not all drivers will take this advice.

"Some folks end up out there needing a safety net, meaning they didn't have a plan," he said, "and that would be where Tow to Go would come in handy. They can call us and we'll come out and tow them and their vehicle home, free of charge."

Experts Caution Against Celebratory Gunfire

Jul 2, 2014
Open Society Foundation / http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/

When celebrating Independence Day, experts say you should keep guns off the list.

There will be lots of fireworks being shot into the sky on the Fourth of July, but law enforcement officers urge that celebratory gunfire should stay out of the mix.

"It only takes one gun and one bullet to kill someone," said Detective Larry McKinnon, the public information officer with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

He said that what the celebratory shooters are lacking is foresight.

Gas Prices Uncertain for 4th of July Travelers

Jun 23, 2014

According to AAA, more people hit the road for the Fourth of July than Memorial Day. But with tensions building in Iraq, a possible increase in gas taxes, and hurricane season underway, it seems the only predictable thing about gas prices is their uncertainty.

Last week, a $.05 increase in the average price per gallon in Florida made trips to the pump even more painful. The rapidly climbing price was put to a stop over the weekend, but AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said we can't be sure of much.

The Fourth of July show will go on as usual tonight in Boston. For the 40th year in a row, the Boston Pops will perform along the banks of the Charles River as fireworks burst overhead.

But the scene and the mood will be different, with heavy security measures in the wake of the recent Boston Marathon bombings. It's in the back of many people's minds that the July 4 celebration was apparently the original target until, police say, the bombers decided to attack the race instead.

It's an even more notable July 4th this year on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, where the Statue of Liberty is open for the first time since Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Mid-Atlantic region last fall.

All over the country on Thursday, fireworks will light up the sky. In many places, those fireworks will come with a patriotic soundtrack — one that wouldn't be complete without "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song officially became America's national anthem in 1931, but it's been around since the early 19th century.

We often celebrate Independence Day with backyard barbecues and fireworks, forgetting the document that started this whole country: the Declaration of Independence.

For the past 20 years Morning Edition has asked NPR hosts and reporters to read the document on the Fourth, as a reminder of our country's history. This year, we decided to ask visitors at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to give it a try.

Patriotism And Protest: Jazz For July 4

Jul 4, 2013

Jazz music has become a point of pride for the United States of America: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. But jazz recordings of American patriotic songs aren't abundant. Perhaps because many of jazz's foremost creators were black Americans who lived in a society which actively discriminated against them, many didn't think to tackle that material.

Happy Independence Day, From NPR

Jul 4, 2013

It's simple, we just want to wish you a happy holiday weekend from NPR, wherever your taste buds take you.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Florida Ranks Third in Beer Consumption

Jul 3, 2013
morguefile.com

If you're celebrating the Fourth of July with a beer in hand, you're not alone. A new ranking released today by the Beer Institute places Florida at number three nationwide in beer consumption.

California and Texas ranked higher.

Almost 13 million barrels of beer were shipped to Florida last year. Even though Florida might have chugged the third most barrels of beer, it ranked 34th in consumption per capita.