Wed, June 26

Canceling fireworks displays was only responsible choice

Fireworks definitely will not be part of the Independence Day picture this year. Friday, Cottonwood joined ranks with Camp Verde and the Yavapai-Apache Nation in regretfully canceling this year's July 4 fireworks exhibitions.

Certainly, that doesn't mean we'll have nothing to do this July 4. Every Verde Valley community will continue with its traditional July 4 festivities, just without the pyrotechnic extravaganza to fill the night skies. Check out our July 3 edition of Kudos for the full run-down of July 4 fun and games throughout the Verde Valley.

Obviously, the drought conditions plaguing Arizona are the primary reason for canceling this year's fireworks exhibitions. The risk of an accident escalating into tragedy is just too great this year. In addition, as was emphasized by Camp Verde officials, canceling public fireworks displays will free up public safety personnel to allow enhanced community patrols in an effort to identify persons illegally using fireworks.

Others have said that public fireworks displays are a slap in the face to the professionals fighting the worst forest fires in Arizona history this summer. Good point.

The most inventive and patriotic alternative to a July 4 fireworks show has come from Cottonwood city officials. The city's fireworks show is not being cancelled, but rather postponed to Sept. 11. Let's hope and pray we get some rain by then.

Cottonwood Parks and Recreation Director Richard Faust said the postponement to Sept. 11 will be "a combined celebration of independence and patriotism, plus a memorial to (victims of) the horrific events of September last year." What an excellent idea.

Breaking from tradition is always a difficult decision, especially when it involves a celebration of the independence of our country. This year, however, conditions are such that the leaders of our various Valley communities really have no choice.

Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention.