Independence Day
July 1, 2013
by Jenni Sebora

“Oh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming . . .”

“The Star Spangled Banner” is our country’s national anthem. We think of its words, especially on Independence Day.

This famous anthem is based on a poem written in 1814, by lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812.

Fourth of July has been a federal holiday in the US since 1941, but, of course, we know that celebration goes back to American Revolution time.

On July 2, 1776, The Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain July 2, 1776. July 4, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Thus, July 4 has been designated as the birthday of American independence.

I find it very fascinating that two of our founding fathers of Independence Day, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Display of the American flag, parades, picnics, and fireworks have all become staples in the celebration of Independence Day, the Fourth of July.

Movie theaters often have opening night for many of the summer movie blockbusters July 4, or the weekend of it.

Our family, too, shares in rituals. We head to a lake for a barbecue, lawn games, swimming, a little tennis, softball, and just plain family camaraderie with extended family.

It is a day we all look forward to, a family reunion day, with no cleaning involved, just some packing of picnic baskets and coolers, swimsuits, balls, bats, sun screen, and family.

This family tradition has been going on for a long time in our family – with children grown, new family members involved, other family members in our memories – but the reason, fun, and togetherness remains the same.

At the end of the day, after we are all exhausted from sun, fun, and food, we head home in our car, listening to patriotic music to get rejuvenated to watch fireworks somewhere.

We pull over on the side of a road to watch the fireworks display in the car, to avoid the little flying friends that like to buzz around our heads, and then we head someplace for ice cream.

What a day. I can’t wait. I am deciding what patriotic food item I can make for this year’s celebration.

Happy Independence Day! May we all enjoy the traditions that help make this holiday special, and never forget what our independence means.

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