Originally published in the Summerville Journal Scene
By David Kennard
By David Kennard
I knew something wasn’t right last year on the Fourth of July when my daughter quietly walked into the living room and interrupted me to say, “Um, Dad, there’s been an incident.”
She and her college-aged friends were out on the street in front of the house celebrating with fireworks. I know this because the TV show I was trying to watch was interrupted every few seconds by artillery fire that she and everyone else in the neighborhood were blasting well into the night.
No blood was drawn, but the neighbor’s cedar fence had a sulfur burn, as did the neighbor’s garage door across the street, as did the neighbor’s rose bushes around the corner. In fact the errant aerial sent blasts everywhere except into the air.
Everyone was a little shook up, but otherwise OK.
My garden hose put a quick end to the fireworks for the night. Friends went home and my daughter reluctantly went to each neighbor to apologize for “the incident.”
The Fourth of July has been a day to celebrate since the earliest days of our nation, but like many of our holidays, the reason we celebrate has been diluted amongst the many celebrations.
Here in the Lowcountry, we have a connection to the Revolutionary War and the cause of independence that many of our fellow Americans enjoy only by proxy.
As one of the 13 original colonies that united to fight against tyranny, South Carolina and its earliest residents will forever hold a place of honor to all who still today call themselves South Carolinians.
As a recent arrival, I’ve come to understand the significant role of South Carolina in the formation of our nation.
Just last weekend I found myself on a guided tour of Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site.
What a treasure we have just minutes from downtown Summerville.
As most longtime residents know, the town of Dorchester was one of the earliest settlements in the area, providing a center for commerce and civilization in the wilderness that still surrounds much of the area.
Little remains of the original settlement – a brick bell tower and a tabby-walled fort protecting the remains of a brick powder magazine. The fort was built during the late 1750s and fortified in 1775 to provide protection from invading British forces.
Several archaeological digs as well as remaining maps have provided clues about what Revolutionary War-era life was like for our earliest residents. The solid brick homes and walled fortress tell us that defending against invading forces was always on their mind.
The war that granted America its freedom – as well as the changing economy and improvements in transportation – ushered in the end of the settlement of Dorchester and beginning of the town of Summerville.
Although Summerville didn’t become an official town until 1847, we owe our development to the settlers that moved to this area to find freedom, prosperity and opportunity.
Now more than ever we should honor the vision and sacrifices of our town’s earliest forefathers. To them celebrating the cause of freedom was much more than an incident.
Enjoy a safe Fourth of July holiday.
David Kennard is the executive editor of Summerville Communications, which publishes the Berkeley Independent, Goose Creek Gazette and Summerville Journal Scene. Contact him at email@example.com or 843-873-9424. Follow him on Twitter @davidbkennard.