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From the Desktop

by Trish Utter. Publisher & Chief Bottle Washer

What does July 4th mean to you? For me, it is a reminder of how lucky I am to live in America. I became an American citizen in 1991. I’m originally from London, England. I had to take an exam on American history and politics, which I took in Alexandria, Virginia. It wasn’t easy – in fact, I failed it the first time. They did not tell you what the questions would be and there were no hints, so I had to study hard on everything. There must have been a hundred questions and it was not multiple choice. I also had to have a medical exam and fingerprints, which really makes you feel like a criminal. I had to prove that I had legally been living and working in the U.S. for at least ten years before I could be eligible for the exam. Immigration then, lost my results! I had to get my local Senator to help me. Obtaining my citizenship was a very difficult and expensive thing to achieve. I finally got my citizenship just a few weeks before Independence Day. So, you can understand why I tear up when the fireworks start and the national anthem plays. It is a privilege to live here and one I am thankful for every day.

I would like to remind everyone to be aware of those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder this July 4th. The sound of fireworks can be terrifying and trigger bad memories and emotions. Many veterans suffer from anxiety and even I suffer from it as I went through many bombings in London from the IRA when I was a child. July 4th is also a night that pets get lost as the sound of the fireworks scare them. My dog, Daphne shakes uncontrollably from fear of fireworks. She was lost a few years ago as she was outside in daylight when fireworks went off. It took me about 5 hours to find her. She hadn’t gone far. I found her hiding under the house. Make sure pets have identification or they are microchipped and keep them safe inside your home. Please be aware of your friends and neighbors and enjoy your Independence Day.

Wave the flag, sing with the national anthem with pride and be lucky you live the… Good Life!