The 4th in Central Florida (Orlando Sentinel)

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When 13 fledgling colonies declared themselves free from British rule, independence was not guaranteed. The United States was a hard-won prize, the honored dream of thousands of patriots who sacrificed themselves for the future of their countrymen.

Bickering and politics are woven into the system of government our forefathers created, so even for our arguments they would ask us to be grateful. But it helps to think of the real victory when watching the rockets’ red glares, when bringing our families and friends to common spaces and seeing our neighbors sometimes for the first time. It helps to remember that at the core of all our disagreements, the people who built this country started by slaying a dragon.

We celebrate our deserved peace and the common strength that unites us. Whether our ancestors were born here or came here, we all gather under the banner of America.

Brevard

4th of July Symphony Under the Stars: Brevard Symphony Orchestra and fireworks display. 8 p.m. Tuesday, Riverfront Park, 401 Riveredge Drive, Cocoa, free, 321-242-2024, brevardsymphony.com.

Cocoa Beach Fourth of July Fireworks: 8 p.m. Monday, Cocoa Beach, 4400 Ocean Beach Blvd., Cocoa Beach, free, cocoabeach.com.

Fireworks Over the Harbor: block party ending with fireworks. 4 p.m. Saturday, The Cove at Port Canaveral, Glen Cheek Drive, Port Canaveral, free.

Independence Day Parade and Fireworks: 10 a.m. parade, 8 p.m. fireworks Tuesday, downtown Melbourne, 1 New Haven Ave., free, 321-608-7000, melbourneflorida.org.

Red, White & Boom Over North Brevard: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sand Point Park, 101 N. Washington Ave., Titusville, free, 321-264-5105.

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