Those who elected to hold public fireworks displays this year called for more than a bit of creativity, and counties from Ashe to Avery and all points in between supplied the ingenuity needed to make even a global pandemic year a true Independence Day celebration.

Although most municipalities rightly altered the traditional community gatherings at parks and other public places, those at higher elevations and others finding more non-traditional spaces gave the High Country a true July 4 explosion of color and sound.

Given the national climate of concern and unrest, the holiday splash was a much-needed, if brief, pause for those in Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties to reflect on the bounty of our country — and the sacrifices it has taken to get us to our present 244-year-old ever work-in-progress. Ever, because the United States, like its citizens, continues to evolve and learn from a past that educates today’s decisions and directions.

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the U.S. Second Continental Congress — making the original 13 British colonies one sovereign nation. We’ve come a long way from that day, and this year we again had a High Country July 4 celebration to remind us of that. A well-done and thank you to all who took part in making this happen.

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