Celebrate Our Independence

Independence Day, July 4th, is the most important holiday in the United States. It celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The day has always been the occasion for parades and patriotic speeches and for every variety of noisy jubilation. In fact, the firing of cannon and fireworks caused so many injuries, by the early 1900's, ordinances forbidding private pyrotechnics were passed in many cities. Today, Fourth of July fireworks are largely handled by professionals.

The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is a pre-Revolutionary War relic that was first hung in 1753 in the newly finished Pennsylvania State House, the building that would eventually become Independence Hall. The bell is inscribed with the words Proclaim Liberty throughout the land. It was rung on the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, inaugurating an Independence Day tradition that was observed every year (with the exception of 1777-78, when the bell was removed and hidden from the British occupiers of Philadelphia) until 1846. That year a small crack enlarged to the point where the bell could no longer be sounded.

Perhaps the most famous symbol of the colonial struggle for independence, it is now housed in Philadelphia's Liberty Bell provilion.



"It's Not Too Late"

He was a gentle man who stood with pride,
His body was ebbing like the outgoing tide.
His walk was slow, for age took its toll,
To live but one season was his goal.
Passing two lads in the park,
He noticed something, though almost dark.
There was a cloth on the ground,
A cloth that the boys had recently found.
With cold gray eyes he looked their way,
Then tears fell as be bowed to pray.
God, give me strength, show me what to do,
To teach them respect for the red, white and blue.
Mister, why are you crying, what did we do?
It's just an old rag that's red, white and blue.
That cloth you call just an old rag,
Is Old Glory, our nation's flag.
There's 13 stripes and 50 stars,
Blood was shed for those bars.
Each star represents one great state,
Pick up the flag, it's not too late.
But mister, why are you angry, oh what did we do?
It's still just a rag that's red, white and blue.
He bent is head and closed his eyes,
Then looked at the boys and said with a sigh,
This is your flag, a sight to behold,
A symbol of freedom worth more than gold.
Our freedom to speak and think as we choose,
For this our ancestors paid their dues.
They fought in wars, and gave their lives,
Fever took their children and their wives.
These were your families as well as mine,
We put their honor on the line.
So our flag can fly for all to see,
Symbolizing freedom for you and me.
Mister, we're so sorry, what can we do?
We'll brush off the dirt from the red, white and blue.
And put up a pole here in the park,
Fly her with pride from morn' til dark.
The three stood still and silence was strong,
The boys knew now why they were wrong.
As they gazed upon that tattered flag,
Their hearts told them this was no rag.
Though dirty and torn, she flew that day,
"That's our flag," he heard them say.

Poem written by Pat Odiorne, Brandon, Florida.

The American Flag

The American flag flies proudly across the nation, from homes to car antennas and unexpected places. We need to show proper respect and not take it lightly because it represents the liberties that we have. Here are a few tips on displaying Old Glory.

On An Automobile: Tie or clamp the flag to the antenna or clamp the flagstaff to the right fender. Do not drape the flag over a car. Take the flag down at night.

In A Window: Hang the flag vertically with its canton, the blue field of stars, at the top and to the left of anyone who sees it from outside.

Outside A Building Or Home: When the flag is displayed from a staff coming from a window, balcony or building, the canton should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff. It should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset, unless it is illuminated.

In A Corridor or Lobby: Hang the flag vertically opposite the main entrance with its canton to the left of a person coming through the door.

With Other Flags: When several flags are flown from the same pole, the U.S. flag should always be on top. Flags of other nations should be on separate poles. One national flag should never be hung above another in time of peace.

On A Wall: When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the canton should be at the top, and on the observer's left.

Flag Don'ts: Flags should not be sewn onto pants or shorts. But it's OK to sew a patch of the U.S. flag -- much like law enforcement officers do --onto a shirt sleeve.

    You also should NOT:

  • Let the flag touch the ground.
  • Use the flag as a covering.
  • Place anything on it or attach anything to it.
  • Use any part of the flag as a costume or athletic uniform.

Thanks to Daniel Vargas of the Houston Chronicle for portions of this information.

The History Of Fireworks

I can't imagine the Fourth of July without fireworks! Fireworks displays actually have a history. According to scholars, war rockets and explosives were first made in China during the 6th century. The first fireworks were probably firecrackers, also known as Chinese crackers. Firecrackers are still used in China and elsewhere to celebrate weddings, births and Chinese New Year.

In the 14th century, Europeans began using gunpowder for weapons, as well as for pyrotechnics shows for entertainment; Italians and Germans were recognized as the masters of the fireworks game.

Some medieval fireworks featured living people holding sky rockets and other fireworks. They were called "green men" because they placed leaves and greenery all over their bodies to ward off burns.

In England, a fireworks display helped celebrate the 1486 wedding of Henry VII, and by 1749 fireworks were such the rage that composer George Friedrich Handel created a symphony called Music for the Royal Fireworks.

Fireworks finally made a big bang in the U.S. before the Revolutionary War and fireworks displays have been synonymous with the Fourth of July since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The biggest U.S. fireworks display ever was staged for the centenary of the Statue of Liberty in 1986, which brought together Zambelli, Grucci and Souza, the biggest names in modern-day American pyrotechnics.

Marvelicious Fireworks

Great Picnic Games!

Egg & Spoon Race

Items needed are raw eggs, spoons and two team flags. Set the flags about five feet away. Behind the starting line, after hearing the whistle blow, race around the other team's flag back to the starting line. Pass the egg along to your teammate. This must continue until all team players have been passed the raw egg. If you drop an egg, you must go back to the starting line for another egg to proceeed.

Three-Legged Race

Assemble team players in twos. Tie a rope or bandana around one player's right leg and the other player's left leg. When the starting whistle blows each set of players race to the finish line. The first to arrive together will win the race.

Other Great Games!

Sack Race

Food For Thought

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged:

"For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They gave you and me a free and independent America.

The following document was sweeping through our email systems. The author is unknown!

**Note: On July 4, 2001, in Ann Landers column, a history buff from Dallas shared further information. He stated that most of the above was true, but unfortunately, a lot of the information was incorrect or misleading. He shared the following:

No signer was killed outright by the British, and only one, Richard Stockton, is said to have been imprisoned solely for having signed the Declaration of Independence. The others were captured while fighting in the army and were treated just like any other prisoner of war (which was fairly harshly), but they were not tortured. Of the 56 signers, 17 (not nine) held commissions in the army or did medical duty during the war. Many of those whose property was looted or destroyed managed to re-establish themselves financially after the war.

Carter Braxton did suffer financial hardship because of the British, but he retained other holdings. What ruined him were commercial setbacks after the war. Thomas McKean did not die in poverty. In fact, he was quite wealthy when he died at the age of 83 in 1817. No one knows for sure if Thomas Nelson's home was fired upon (the source of this story is family legend), but he heard the home was turned into a tourist attraction after the war, and additional cannonball holes were added for "authenticity."

The other facts are essentially corect, but they give the impression that these men died as a result of wounds suffered in the war, or they died in poverty. In reality, the majority survived the war and rebuilt their fortunes.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence knew they could have been targeted by the British as traitors. They showed tremendous courage and bravery by willingly putting their names on a document that could bring about their deaths. They were remarkable men. We do not need to embellish the truth.

**Additional Note: It seems there has been some controversy about the author of the above. Some insisted the original piece was written by the father of Rush Limbaugh, Jr. (Rush, Sr.) Another said the author was peter McWilliams, a libertarian writer. Others say the true author is Gary Hildreth of Erie, PA.

Our Nation's Presidents

1. George Washington, 1789-1797
2. John Adams, 1797-1801
3. Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
4. James Madison, 1809-1817
5. James Monroe, 1817-1825
6. John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829
7. Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
8. Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841
9. William Henry Harrison, 1841
10. John Tyler, 1841-1845
11. James Knox Polk, 1845-1849
12. Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850
13. Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853
14. Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
15. James Buchanan, 1857-1861
16. Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865
17. Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869
18. Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1869-1877
19. Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 1877-1881
20. James Abram Garfield, 1881
21. Chester Alan Arthur, 1881-1885
22. Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889
23. Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893
24. Grover Cleveland, 1893-1897
25. William McKinley, 1897-1901
26. Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909
27. William Howard Taft, 1909-1913
28. Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921
29. Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1921-1923
30. Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929
31. Herbert Clark Hoover, 1929-1933
32. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933-1945
33. Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953
34. Dwight David Eisenhower 1953-1961
35. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961-1963
36. Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969
37. Richard Milhous Nixon, 1969-1974
38. Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977
39. James Earl Carter, Jr., 1977-1981
40. Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981-1989
41. George Herbert Walker Bush, 1989-1993
42. William Jefferson Clinton, 1993-2001
43. George Walker Bush, 2001-2009
44. Barack Hussein Obama II, 2009-

I pledge Allegiance to the flag,
of the United States of America,
and to the Republic,
for which it stands,
one nation under God,
with Liberty, and Justice for all

Delicious Recipes!

The All American Dessert

4 cups boiling water

1 pkg (8 serving Jello-O Brand, red flavor
1 pkg (8 serving Jello-O Brand, Berry Blue flavor
2 cups cold water
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip
4 cups Entenmann's All Butter Pound Loaf cubes
2 cups sliced strawberries

Stir 2 cups boiling water into each flavor of gelatin

in separate bowls 2 min. or until completely dissolved.
Stir 1 cup cold water into each bowl. Pour into separate
13" x 9" pans. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or until firm.
Cut into 1/2' cubes.

Layer gelatin cubes, whipped topping, cake and

strawberries in 3-qt serving bowl . Garnish with remaining
whipped topping and Jell-O Star Jigglers (Optional)
13" x 9" pans. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Serves 12-16.

Flag Cake

2 pints of strawberries

1 recipe of your favorite white or yellow cake
1 1/3 Cup of blueberries
1 tub of whipped topping

Mix up and bake your favorite cake mix or recipe. Let cool.

Slice 1 cup of strawberries, set aside. Halve remaining
strawberries, set aside.

Top cake (in pan) with 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup

blueberries and all of the whipped topping. Arrange
remaining strawberry halves and blueberries on whipped
topping to create a flag design. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 12


This recipe from Fabulous Foods

Revolutionary Ribs

1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

2 tbsps. five-spice powder
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. salt
6 lbs. pork back ribs

Mix sugar, spices and salt in small bowl until well combined.

Rub over all surfaces of ribs. Cover and refrigerate at least
1 hour to blend flavors.

Prepare grill with a banked medium-hot fire or turn
on one side of a gas grill. Place ribs upright in a rib rack
over indirect heat. Cover grill and grill for 1-1/2 to 2 hours
or until ribs are tender and meat thermometer registers at
least 160�F. Remove from grill.

Serves 12

Firecracker Rubbed Pork Loin

1 tbsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (4 to 5 lb) bonelsss pork loin, not rolled or tied

Mix herbs and spices in small bowl; rub over all surfaces

of pork. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (can
be stored up to 2 days).

Prepare grill with a banked medium-hot fire. Unwrap

pork and place over indirect heat. Grill for 1 to 1-1/2 hours
or until thermometer registers 150�F to 155�F. Remove from grill;
let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve sliced pork with
Northwest Cherry Salsa (recipe below)

Serves 8 to 12

Northwest Cherry Salsa

2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and chopped

1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsps. lemon juice
1 tbsp. sugar, optional
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Refrigerate at

least 1 hour to blend flavors. Serve with sliced pork loin.
Makes 2 cups

Note: Salsa is best when freshly prepared.

Double Peanut Squares

25 vanilla wafers, finely crushed (abt 1 cup crumbs)

1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 tbsps. sugar
1 (8-oz) pkg. regular or light cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
2 cups prepared whipped topping
Add'l topping for garnish

Mix wafer crumbs, peanuts, margarine and sugar.

Reserve 2 tablespoons crumb mixture. Press remaining
crumb mixture on bottom of 9-inch square baking pan; set aside.

Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in large bowl with

electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in
peanut butter until smooth. Fold in 2 cups whipped topping.
Spread evenly over prepared crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or until
firm. Garnish with additional whipped topping and reserved
crumb mixture.
Makes 9 servings

Easy Yogurt Dip

1 (8 oz) container vanilla nonfat yogurt

2 tbsps. jam, jelly or preserves
Vanilla Wafers

Swirl together yogurt and jam in a small bowl.

Refrigerate until serving time. Serve as dip with

Makes 1 cup

Cherry-Citrus Punch

2 cups sweet cherries, pitted

2 cups chilled orange juice
2 cups chilled lemon-lime flavored soda
1 (8 oz) can pineapple chunks in juice, chilled, undrained
orange, peeled and sectioned

Place cherries in single layer on baking sheet; freeze

until firm. Blend orange juice, soda, pineapple with
juice and orange sections in pitcher. Pour into glasses
to within 2 inches of top. Divide frozen cherries between
glasses. Serve with spoons.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Fourth of July Recipe Sites

Cherries Recipes
Kraft Foods Red, White & Blue

Fourth of July Websites

Alphabet Soup's Fourth of July
Betsy Ross Home Page
Charlene's 4th of July
Fourth of July On The Internet
Family Corner Magazine
"Happy Fourth of July"
The Holiday Spot 4th of July
Independence Day On The Net
Kidz July 4th Clip Art
Marvelicious Patriotic Background Sets
My Mom Is A Survivor Cookout Recipes
Practical Kitchen 4th of July

Greeting Card Sites

123 Greetings for July 4th
Awesome Cards
July 4th Cards

Recommended Shopping!

Marvel's E-Store
Top Selling Outdoor Living

Recommended Reading

Beat the Drum; Independence Day Has Come
By Lee Bennett Hopkins and Tomie de Paola (Illustrator)

Celebrating the Fourth
Independence Day and the Rites of Nationalism in the Early Republic
By Len Travers

Celebrating Independence Day
(Holiday Celebrations)
By Shelly Nielsen, Marie-Claude Monchaux (Illustrator)

The Fourth of July Story
By Alice Dalgliesh and Marie Nonnast (Illustrator)

Happy Birthday, America
By Marsha Wilson Chall and Guy Porfirio (Illustrator)

Fireworks, Picnics and Flags
By James Cross Giblin and Ursula Arndt (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8

Fourth of July Fireworks
(Holiday Symbols)
By Patrick Merrick

Award won on June 22, 1998

Angelic Song's Fantastic Fourth-of-July Page Award - Thank you, Angelic Song!

Award won on June 25, 1997

Family Site Of The Month Award - Thank you, Jeanne!

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