July 4th – Happy Birthday America

July 4, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning patriotic, flag-waving lovers of pyrotechnics. Today is Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Independence Day (aka, the 4th of July)

Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring our independence from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson led a committee that crafted the declaration between June 11-28, 1776., and was the primary author of the document. Jefferson and other discontented representatives from the thirteen colonies voted and approved it on July 4, 1776. The document declared freedom for the 13 colonies from British rule. It currently resides in the Exhibition Hall of the National Archive in Washington, D.C. In total, there were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. The first to sign it was John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress and the representative from Massachusetts, followed by the rest of those present, including Thomas Jefferson. However, the remainder of the representatives straggled in from who knows where, and it wasn’t until August 2nd that the Declaration of Independence had been signed by all of the representatives. In case you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence recently, I submit it to you in its entirety below:

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. 
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

These days, Independence Day is celebrated with parades, picnics, barbecues, family reunions, and of course, fireworks displays. The tradition of celebrating this holiday with fireworks began on the first anniversary of the signing, in 1777, in Bristol, RI, when they celebrated with two, 13 gun salutes (the number of colonies at the time) – one in the morning, then another in the evening. Here are a few more 4th of July facts:

  1.  Two of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence, who both went on to become  President, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same date, July 4th, 1826 – fifty years to the day after the declaration was signed.
  2. Another President and founding father, James Monroe, although he did not sign the declaration, died on July 4th, 1833.
  3. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4th, 1872 – the only President, so far, to be born on Independence Day.
  4. In 1791, the first recorded use of the name “Independence Day” occurred.
  5. In 1870, Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees. It wasn’t until 1938, that Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

So, no matter how you are celebrating this most auspicious holiday, do so safely and responsibly.

Alice in Wonderland Day

Contrary to popular belief, parts of England also celebrate July 4th – albeit for vastly different reasons than do we. Alice in Wonderland Day celebrates the date in 1862 when Lewis Carroll’s first telling of the famous children’s story to his young inspiration, Alice Liddell. July 4th is the date on which Carroll sent his child friend Alice down a rabbit hole in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. During the course of her journey, Alice finds the courage to overcome the strange, often intimidating characters she meets in the kingdom of Wonderland, realizing they are just ridiculous obstacles in her path. In an age when neither children nor educated young women had social rights, Carroll’s fantasy story provided the first clues to the way Alice (re: all young women) might claim her freedom.
Some years ago, the Story Museum in Oxford, England created an annual event to celebrate the birthday of this most beloved of children’s stories either on July 4 or close to the date. If you happen to be in Oxford, England for what is called Alice’s Day, you will see Alice in Wonderland fans participating in picnics, arts and crafts events, barbecues, theater workshops and many other creative events as they celebrate the significance of this important date in the history of English literature.

National Country Music Day 

National Country Music Day, oddly enough, celebrates country music. It was created in the 1950’s by the Country Music Deejay Association. It was originally celebrated to honor singer and songwriter James Charles Rodgers, also known as Jimmie Rodgers “The Father of Country Music”.
Country music’s roots are steeped in the gospel, folk and blues genres, and originated in the Southern United States in the early 1920’s, primarily around Atlanta Georgia. Country music has been a popular music genre in America for many decades. It represents an entire lifestyle. While other styles of music have taken the country by storm, only to fizzle out or fade away, Country music remains as popular as ever.
Rock On, Country Music, Rock On!!

Sidewalk Egg Frying Day 

It’s the middle of summer, and it’s hot enough to “fry an egg on the sidewalk”, which is exactly what Sidewalk Egg Frying Day is all about. It serves to remind us once again of how dangerous exposure to the sun can be, this time for our unprotected feet. If it is “hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk”, you certainly shouldn’t be walking around barefoot on the sidewalk or pavement, and neither should your best friend Rover.

Independence From Meat Day 

Riding on the coattails of Independence Day today is Independence From Meat Day. Independence From Meat Day, not surprisingly, is sponsored by the Vegetarian Awareness Network. Need I say more. They ask: “Why not fix a freedom feast on this Independence Day featuring veggie burgers and veggie dogs for your family and friends?”
Well, let me answer that question: “Because I don’t want to become estranged from my friends family, and I want to give them the opportunity to use their incisors, molars, and bicuspids (given to them through God’s design), for their intended purpose — Chewing MEAT!”

National Barbecued Spareribs Day

Many gatherings today will include a barbecue, and many of these barbecues will feature spareribs. National Barbecued Spareribs Day salutes this classic dish.
Spare ribs are pork ribs and come from the belly side of the pig’s rib cage, above the sternum and below the back ribs, which extend about 6″ down from the spine. They are generally 11″ to 13″ long. Compared to the curved baby back ribs, spare ribs are longer, but flatter and heavier, and contain more bone than meat. However, the greater proportion of fat makes spare ribs more tender than baby back ribs, and the ribs are full of meaty flavor. The name “spare ribs” may relate to the spare amount of meat on the ribs. In American cuisine, they are usually smoked, or barbecued on the grill.

National Caesar Salad Day

According to some food historians, chef Caesar Cardini created Caesar Salad in Tijuana, Mexico on this date in 1924, which could explain why today is National Caesar Salad Day. But, there is some controversy as to who really created the dish, and when. There are several stories that chronicle the specifics of the salad’s creation. Cardini was living in San Diego but also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of prohibition. As his daughter Rosa (1928-2003) reported, her father invented the dish when a Fourth of July 1924 rush depleted the kitchen’s supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, successfully adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing “by the chef”. A competing story, originating in Mexico, concerns Alex Cardini, who was Chef of Hotel Peñafiel in Tehuacán. Cardini, the son of an Italian immigrant, made the Caesar Salad especially for a gourmet contest in Tijuana, winning first place with his innovative dish. Some historians contend that the salad was created for a group of Hollywood stars after a long weekend party. Still others suggest that Caesar’s brother Alex created the dish as “Aviator’s Salad” for a bunch of San Diego aviator comrades who were in a hurry, and the dish was renamed later when Alex was a partner of his brother. Yet another story bandied about is that The Caesar Salad recipe was allegedly created at a restaurant operated by Cardini on the ground floor of the Hotel Comercial at the corner of 2nd Street and Main, Tijuana. In 1929-1930, Cardini moved his restaurant to the newly constructed Hotel Caesar on Main St., nowadays Avenida Revolución, near the corner of 5th St. The Hotel Comercial  (co-mer-c-al) is long-gone, but the historic “Comercial” building still stands at the same location, and the Hotel Caesar’s continues to operate to this day. The restaurant closed in 1993, but after a renovation in the late 1990’s, the bar in the hotel began preparing table-side “ensalada Caesar per tradition” and claims to serve the “original Caesar salad. A few fellows among Cardini’s personnel also claimed the authorship, but without success.
No conclusive documentary reference to the Caesar salad has yet been found, or at least publicized, that can reliably be dated before the mid-1940s—more than twenty years after the 1924 origin asserted by the Cardinis. The first-known instance cited by the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1947, but it had appeared on a Los Angeles restaurant menu several months before that, in October 1946, however, earlier citations may ultimately be discovered.
A classic Caesar Salad’s ingredients may make some people a bit squeamish, but the flavor is outstanding. Anchovies and raw (or coddled) egg are the main ingredients of the dressing. Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice are added to give it some zing, and a dash of salt to bring the dressing together. Caesar dressing is traditionally served atop Romaine lettuce.
It doesn’t matter who first created the Caesar Salad, or when…it only matters that it was created. Celebrate National Caesar Salad Day by having a Caesar Salad today.

More Holidays

On This Date 

  • In 1776 – United States Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia. The statement declared the independence of the 13 British colonies from the British crown. It also announced the creation of a new country called the United States of America. Then handwritten declaration was approved by the Second Continental Congress and was signed by 56 delegates on August 2, 1776.
  • In 1802 – The U.S. Military Academy officially opened at West Point, NY.
  • In 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase was announced in newspapers. The property was purchased by the United States from France, for $15 million…or 3 cents an acre.
  • In 1817 – Construction began on the Erie Canal, to connect Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
  • In 1848 – The cornerstone for the Washington Monument was laid in Washington, DC.
  • In 1865 – Alice in Wonderland was published for the first time. The classic fantasy novel was written by author Lewis Carroll, whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. The book recounted the adventures of a curious girl, Alice, who falls into a rabbit hole and meets human-like animals and creatures.
  • In 1881 – Tuskegee Institute opened in Alabama.
  • In 1884 – Bullfighting was introduced in the U.S. in Dodge City, KS.
  • In 1886 – The first rodeo in America was held in Prescott, AZ.
  • In 1892 – The first double-decker streetcar service was inaugurated in San Diego, CA.
  • In 1910 – Race riots broke out all over the United States after African-American Jack Johnson knocked out Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match.
  • In 1934 – At Mount Rushmore, George Washington’s face was dedicated.
  • In 1946 – The Philippines achieved full independence for the first time in over four hundred years. The South East Asian country had been ruled for almost 381 years by various colonial powers, starting with the Spanish in the early 16th century and ending with the United States.
  • In 1955 – The first king cobra snakes born in captivity in the U.S. hatched at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.
  • In 1960 – The 50-star U.S. flag made its debut in Philadelphia, PA.
  • In 1966 – President Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act, which went into effect the following year. The 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the law, which allows for the disclosure of government information to the public. It came into effect a year later in 1967.
  • In 1987 – Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo chief known as the “Butcher of Lyon,” was convicted by a French court of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison.
  • In 2004 – In New York City, the cornerstone of the Freedom Tower was laid on the former World Trade Center site.
  • In 2009 – The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopened to visitors. It had been closed to the public since September 11, 2001.
  • In 2012 – The discovery of the Higgs boson particle was announced by scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The existence of the elusive elementary particle in physics was suggested in the 1960’s. The Higgs boson, which is named after Nobel laureate, Peter Higgs, was finally detected by scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

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