"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

An Independence Day blog post

Fireworks set off over our house a few years ago. Photo credit: Keith Stapley. Used with persmission.
Today in 1776 the United States of America was born by adopting the Declaration of Independence. Today in 2017 we celebrate the birthday of a nation in a variety of ways, but almost all of the ways have something to do with fireworks and blowing up things up. Did you know there is a reason we celebrate with fireworks? Because John Adams wanted us to, though he thought July 2nd should be the day for celebrating. In 1777 our nation celebrated our Independence Day with fireworks and we have been doing it ever since.
In a letter to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, he wrote that the occasion should be commemorated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. (Slate) 
How about that? I learned something new today. Did you? Finding out this bit of information about fireworks and the Fourth of July celebrations made me decide to dig for a few more pieces of information about this American holiday. Here are a few more things I discovered----

Only John Hancock and Charles Thompson actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, all other of the 56 signers of that famous document signed after that date.

The first Independence Day was celebrated on July 8, 1776 in Philadelphia after the Declaration of Independence was read aloud for the first time. But not until 1870 did Congress declare it an official holiday.

Three Presidents have died on July 4th, Adams, Jefferson, and Monroe. Weirdly, Adams and Jefferson died on the same day just hours apart in 1826. One President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on this day.

Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies. (Academic Exchange). 

Hot dogs really do go hand-in-hand with the fourth of July. Every year more than 150 million dogs are consumed on this day. Is that even possible?  It is also considered our "booziest" holiday.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut won the hot dog eating contest for the 10th year in a row today. He consumed 71 dogs and buns to win. Gross. Here is the ESPN account of it. (Ha, the Sports channel.)

"Yankee Doodle", which is a popular American patriotic song, was originally sung by British military officers in mockery of the unorganized and buckskin-wearing "Yankees."

I think of John Philip Sousa marches as the most patriot music today. Here is a fabulous website where you can listen to some of his famous marches from original recordings made on wax cylinders by Sousa and the U.S. Marine Band. Preserved by the Smithsonian. (PBS) My favorite is "Stars and Stripes Forever."

Today we watched our neighborhood parade, a parade we started over 20 years ago when our girls were young. It is still going after all these years (and it is just as rinky-dink as ever.) Later we will watch fireworks set off by neighborhood kids and eat hamburgers with our friends Susie and Keith. Happy 4th of July!!!

(Below are photos of my girls and husband back in 1994 in Midland Michigan, during and after the neighborhood parade in my brother's neighborhood. I got the idea for our parade from this event. Thanks Becky!)
Carly was happy now that the parade is over and there was pop and cupcakes.

Don helped Carly by pulling her during the parade.

Rita, a patriotic soul.


  1. A neighborhood parade would be a great idea to get everyone involved! I am happy for a quiet morning. :)

    1. My neighbor just set off another blast of some sort and the cat scurried out of the room to spend the day under the bed, no doubt.

  2. I didn't know most of those facts about the 4th! We had a quiet day without any real celebrating, but I love the idea of your neighborhood parade.

    1. the parade is a fun tradition, though it really is rinky-dink. This year there were just bicycles, wagons, and walking parents. No cars, or stilts, or crazy things like in year's past. We always sit in our lawn chairs and watch them go past.


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