Last week, our Public Works Department installed a sign on Inman Street at the Museum Center at Five Points pointing to First Street Square. The new sign brings attention to the statue of Col. Benjamin Cleveland, dedicated just over a year ago in the First Street park.
Cleveland was one of the patriot leaders who led an army of mountaineer Americans to victory over the British Army and their allies at Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Historians say it was a pivotal battle that pushed the British into Virginia where they met their final defeat at Yorktown.
The American spirit forged by our Declaration Of Independence and at places like Kings Mountain by people like Cleveland so long ago is still alive and well in our city and our nation.
Whenever we express an opinion, cast a vote, enter a place of worship, start up a business, contribute to a cause or decide how to educate our children, we are taking part in that spirit. These are freedoms millions of people in other parts of the world can only dream about.
That American spirit of liberty, freedom, enterprise, adventure, exploration and compassion is what the 238 years of history since the Declaration of Independence in 1776 are all about.
All the sacrifice and hard work of generations of Americans have made us the most free people in history with the strongest military and the most powerful economy to match.
The freedoms we enjoy are truly something to celebrate each Fourth of July, our nation's birthday.
Most of us will celebrate somewhat like a former president said we should. John Adams, the second president, wrote to his wife, Abigail, that famous quotation that the Fourth Of July "... ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other."
“The City With Spirit” will be doing some of that.
Many of us will attend a community worship celebration Friday. Later, there will be a big crowd to watch a fireworks extravaganza. The one in our city will take place above Paul Huff Parkway, another street named to remember another patriot. Command Sgt. Major Paul Huff was one of our city's own World War II heroes.
Another fireworks event is traditionally staged on Highway 64 by Howard Thompson and also will light up the skies on the Fourth of July, giving our citizens two events to watch this year.
In his lifetime, Col. Benjamin Cleveland never traveled to Tennessee and the city that bears his name. He died in 1806, several decades before our city was formed. But he would no doubt be proud to know “The City With Spirit” is still celebrating the Spirit Of '76.