July 4 is a day of fireworks, great food, marching bands, parades, and a local or national baseball game. Heading to the beach is near the top of the list as well.
Who doesn’t enjoy the stirring sound of John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever? Francis Scott Key’s The Star-Spangled Banner reminds one of the heritage that has been paid for in precious blood.
Growing up, I remember that my maternal grandmother always made her sumptuous potato salad for July 4. Her baked beans were delicious (it is amazing what a few tablespoons of brandy can do).
She always did her famous blackberry pie. The blackberries were picked from her grandparents’ old homestead which was overrun with blackberry bushes as well as some snakes.
Our neighbor Mr. Davis always had his grill ablazing. The scent of hot dogs and hamburgers with his special barbecue sauce filled the air.
The men engaged in a game of horseshoes. The women talked about life. The children would play croquet, which Grandfather had bought.
Grandfather believed it did not take skill to toss a horseshoe around a metal pole. However, croquet was a different animal which required skill and planning.
Of course our beagle Spot played as well. Chasing the ball was a great amount of enjoyment for him.
In the summer when Mr. Davis was not teaching, he operated a barbecue joint down by the new bridge. My grandfather always paid a visit.
July 4 is a day of memories as one ages. For many it holds a special place like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Back in 1826 as the 50th Anniversary of July 4, 1776 was approaching, Roger Chew Weightman, Mayor of Washington and Chairman of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the American Revolution, invited several former Presidents to come to Washington to celebrate. It was going to be a grand time since the country had been victorious in two wars with the greatest power on earth— Great Britain.
“The United States in 1826 actually stretched from sea to sea. It had been as wide as the continent since Secretary of State J. Q. Adams’ Convention with Great Britain in 1818 established joint occupation of the Oregon country for ten years. Contemporary maps of this tremendous domain trail off into fantasy in their western reaches, but the psychology of “manifest destiny” would soon provide better ones.
“Of the 24 states in the Union two were now established beyond the Mississippi. Senator Benton of Missouri, which was one of them, this year, predicted that the lure of the (present) Middle West would largely depopulate tidewater America. Though his enthusiasm had much to justify it, Benton’s prophecy of depopulation was wrong. Virtually all sections of the country shared in the steady increase of population, which, approaching the 12,000,000 mark in 1826, had quadrupled in the fifty years since the first Fourth of July. More than ninety per cent of the American people were still living on farms, but the spectacular development of industry following the War of 1812 was attracting more and more laborers to the northeastern cities.” https://www.americanheritage.com/july-4-1826
Unfortunately, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and James Monroe could not attend. On July 4 the nation celebrated as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams said their final good-byes to the country which they helped to create. They died hours apart.
In 1831 James Monroe said his final good-byes as well on July 4. James Madison would die on June 28, 1836—a week short of July 4.
Whatever your plans are for the 4th, enjoy and take time to remember those memories from childhood as well create new ones for your children and grandchildren. Heritage is only as valuable as those who embrace it.
G. D. Williams © 2019
On June 11, 1776, the Colonies’ Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and formed a committee whose express purpose was drafting a document that would formally sever their ties with Great Britain. The committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson, who was considered the strongest and most eloquent writer, crafted the original draft document. A total of 86 changes were made to his draft and the Continental Congress officially adopted the final version on July 4, 1776.
The following day, copies of the Declaration of Independence were distributed, and on July 6, The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first newspaper to print the extraordinary document. The Declaration of Independence has since become our nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty.
The Star-Spangled Banner September 14, 1814
John Philip Sousa (November 6, 1854-March 6. 1932)
The Stars and Stripes Forever 1896
National March of the United States in 1987
James Madison (March 16, 1751-June 28, 1836) to Roger C. Weightman
Montpellier 21 Jun. 1826
Letter from Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743-July 4, 1826) to Roger C. Weightman
Monticello, June 24, 1826
Roger Chew Weightman (January 18, 1787- February 2, 1876)
John Adams (October 30, 1735-July 4, 1826)
James Monroe (April 28, 1758-July 4, 1831)
Loch Garry Posts
Apple Pie and July 4th
I remember hearing as a child that after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the signers gathered at Benjamin Franklin’s home. They had a nice glass of port and a huge slice of apple pie.
The glass of port may be true since it was the gentlemen’s drink of the times, unlike the common apple cider that was the commoner’s daily draught, but apple pie? Contrary to popular belief when I was a boy, apple pie is not a true American creation since the apple was not an indigenous tree.
My maternal grandmother loved to do fried apple pies in her cast iron skillet which she had inherited from her mother. She and her sister were the only girls and how they reached détente on who inherited what will have to remain a mystery.
The 4th: Old Glory, Apple Pie and American Ideals
The 4th of July conjures up all aspects of the American experiment. Old Glory waving in the July breezes of summer; baseball games and hot dogs; fresh apple and cherry pies on picnic tables and bazaars; grills a-blazing; festive tunes and songs with some banjo picking; and of course fireworks to send dogs yelping and babies crying, with spectacular displays to dazzle and enchant the child in all of us.
Heritage: A Few Moments To Remember July 4th
In 1776 a handful of men met in Philadelphia to make one of the most controversial decisions in the history of the human race. In addressing their grievances and intentions to the King of Great Britain, the 13 states (colonies on the North America’s soil) would take an audacious step which would result in bloodshed and a break from the nefarious ways of the Old World.
As you and your family go about the day’s activities ( apple pie, baseball, barbecue, parades, fireworks, etc. ) take a few moments to reflect how much it took—“the last full measure of devotion”—for you to enjoy this day. Remember that those brave people who forged a new nation and who held a nation together were willing to engage in a costly endeavor of human sacrifice and dedication to ideals beyond the normal realm of life on this planet traversing the cosmos.