Are You Ready for the 4th of July?

To get you in the proper mood for this blog, please start with this:

Now I could probably stop right here, and we’d be fine.  But there is more to this major American holiday than a rousing march.  There are fireworks (in less dry weather)!  And parades!  And picnics!

In June of 1776, the original thirteen colonies’ Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, where a document was drafted to formally sever ties with Great Britain. This document was crafted by Thomas Jefferson, the most eloquent writer on the committee charged with this task.  Eighty-six changes later, the final version of the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4.  Copies were distributed the following day and the Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print this historic document in its July 6 edition.

The first public readings of the Declaration of Independence were held on July 8, 1776, in Philadelphia’s Independence Square.  Bells were rung and band music was played; the following year, bonfires and fireworks were added to the celebration.  This type of festivity grew and spread throughout our young nation, becoming more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

In 1870, Congress established Independence Day as a holiday, which Congress reaffirmed in 1938.

Communities large and small across the country mark this major summer holiday with parades, firework displays, picnics and the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and marches by John Philip Sousa.

One Indiana town, in particular, has a special meaning on July 4.  Patriot, Indiana – population 209 – can’t help but enjoy a day that celebrates the patriot in all of us.  Located on the Ohio River in southeastern Indiana, Patriot is also home to Dr. Elwood Mead who supervised the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930’s.  Hoover Dam impedes Lake Mead, named after him.

So now that we know why we’re celebrating, the question becomes how are you going to celebrate this great day?  Since the Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year, my family’s celebrating will a little smaller than those that fall on a weekend.  I don’t have my menu planned just yet, but it will definitely include watermelon; that’s about the only time of year my husband will eat it.  I think watermelon just fits so well into the red, white, and blue theme.  Need some ideas yourself for fun Fourth of July foods?  Abby, our dietetic intern, has a cute idea here:

How about a Patriotic Parfait?

Both of these ideas are colorful, fun, and nutritious!  And why not top off your Fourth of July meal with a cold glass of milk and some very special cookies?

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

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