Our country has been coined the great melting pot of traditions, customs and languages.

No other country has as great a diversity as ours. So, it’s a special time when we all come together for a celebration. The Fourth of July is our country’s most important holiday.

As we commemorate our liberty with fireworks and celebrations from one end of our nation to the other, our thoughts turn to our dedicated armed forces. They are the keepers of our freedom and we honor and pray for them on the Fourth of July and every day.

July is also the start of summertime activities. Thoughts of cookouts, ice cream stands and garden flowers race through our minds. Backyard cook-outs with the simple fare of burgers and hot dogs can entice even an evolved palette.

Memories attached to the traditions are what flavors the food and we look forward to it time and again. As we muddle through the present economy, people will be staying close to home this summer. There’s a new term for that, “taking a staycation,” and it can be fun. There’s much to do around town if you’re taking a staycation.

* Dracut will hold its annual Fourth of July concert on Friday, July 3, starting at 7 p.m. at the Englesby Junior High School gazebo featuring entertainment by Brandy.

* The COA’s annual chicken barbecue will be on Thursday, July 23, at 11:30 a.m. at the center.

* Wednesday is “Ice Cream Day.” Each Wednesday we will visit a different ice cream stand. Everyone will have a chance to pick their favorite stand to visit.

* Our Friday Quick Trips will head to Wal-Mart on the July 10, TBones and Kohl’s on July 17, the Tea Room in Londonderry on July 24, and the TJ Max Plaza with lunch at Comets on July 31.

* On July 9 a workshop on diabetic solutions will be held at 10:30 a.m. Please join us for refreshments and information.

* Movie of the month on July 8 will feature New In Town.

* The first Tuesday in August is National Nightout, a crime and drug prevention event, which is celebrated throughout the country. The Dracut police will hold Dracut’s Day Out on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at 12:30. Please join us for pizza, salads, desserts and entertainment by Paul Iannazzo, who will perform a medley of Italian songs. Tickets are $4.

* Come see “My Friend’s Spa.” The Friends of the Dracut Elderly have sponsored the remodeling of one of our lower level bathrooms and it’s been converted into a calm, serene place for our reiki sessions and chair massage.

Chair massage will be on Wednesdays, July 15 and July 29. Appointments start at 11 a.m., with five minutes of massage for $15. Please call for your appointment at 978-957-2611.

Many thanks to the Friends of the Dracut Elderly for their sponsorship of “My Friend’s Spa.” at the Dracut Council on Aging, “The best Place in Town.” Happy Fourth of July.

Joyce Shadan is the executive director of the Dracut Council on Aging.