4th of july

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Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner History

“Happy Birthday America”

Today our nation celebrates its 236th birthday. Yet, it was actually on July 2nd when America broke from Great Britain. Two days later the Declaration of Independence was signed, which is why we celebrate the occasion on the 4th of July. While most citizens know the first stanza of said anthem, few know the other three. Nor do they know the history leading up to the crafting of its words.

The year was 1812 and the United States was at war with England over freedom of the seas. It was a tumultuous time as Great Britain was struggling with Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. In 1814, however, Napoleon was beaten and England turned its attention to the United States. While many naval battles were fought, the fight eventually centered on the central part of the US as the British attempted to split this country in half. Washington, DC was taken and then the Brits “marched” toward Baltimore, where a mere 1,000 patriots manned the cannons at Fort McHenry, whose guns controlled the harbor. If Baltimore was to “fall,” the British would have to take Fort McHenry.

The attack commenced on the morning of September 13, 1814, as 19 British ships began pounding the fort with rockets and mortar shells. After an initial exchange of fire, the Brits withdrew to just outside the range of Fort McHenry’s cannons and continued their bombardment for the next 25 hours. Surprisingly, on board one of the British ships was 35-year-old poet-lawyer Francis Scott Key, who was there arguing for the release of Dr. William Beanes, a prisoner of the British. Even though the captain agreed to the

release, the two Americans were required to stay aboard until the attack on Baltimore was over. It was now the night of September 13th as the bombardment continued.

As twilight deepened, Key and Beanes saw the American flag flying over Fort McHenry. And, as reprised by famed author Isaac Asimov:

“Through the night, they heard bombs bursting and saw the red glare of rockets. They knew the fort was

resisting and the American flag was still flying. But toward morning the bombardment ceased, and a dread

silence fell. Either Fort McHenry had surrendered and the British flag flew above it, or the bombardment had failed and the American flag still flew.

As dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Key and Beanes stared out at the fort, trying to see which flag flew over it. He and the physician must have asked each other over and over, ‘Can you see the flag?’

After it was all finished, Key wrote a four stanza poem telling the events of the night. Called ‘The Defense of Fort McHenry,’ it was published in newspapers and swept the nation. Someone noted that the words fit an old English tune called, ‘To Anacreon in Heaven’ – a difficult melody with an uncomfortably large vocal range. For obvious reasons, Key’s work became known as ‘The Star Spangled Banner,’ and in 1931 Congress declared it the official anthem of the United States.

Now that you know the story, here are the words. Presumably, the old doctor is speaking. This is what he asks Key:

Oh! say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.

Oh! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

(‘Ramparts,’ in case you don’t know, are the protective walls or other elevations that surround a fort.) The first stanza asks a question. The second gives an answer:

On the shore, dimly seen thro’ the mist of the deep

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream.

‘Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

‘The towering steep’ is again, the ramparts. The bombardment has failed, and the British can do nothing more but sail away, their mission a failure. In the third stanza I feel Key allows himself to gloat over the American triumph. In the aftermath of the bombardment, Key probably was in no mood to act otherwise? During World War I when the British were our staunchest allies, this third stanza was not sung. However, here it is:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

A home and a country should leave us no more?

Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

(The fourth stanza, a pious hope for the future, should be sung more slowly than the other three and with even deeper feeling):

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation,

Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven – rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,

And this be our motto -”In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Have a happy 4th!

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.

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Declaration of Independence

4th of July 2012 Events in Washington DC

Washington DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall, with Washington DC’s monuments and the US Capitol in the background, forms a beautiful and patriotic backdrop to America’s Independence Day celebrations. This is an all-day event in the nation’s capital, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument. Following is a guide to all of the 4th of July events on the National Mall.

The 4th of July celebrations in Washington, DC are among the most attended events of the year and many people arrive early to stake out a seat on the lawn. There are plenty of activities scheduled throughout the day to keep the whole family busy.

Getting to the National Mall

The best way to get to the National Mall is to take the Metro. Stations nearby include Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, Federal Triangle and L’Enfant Plaza.The Smithsonian Metro station will be closed for most of the day for security reasons. The station will reopen for entry-only shortly after the fireworks show has concluded to help get people home. It typically takes 1 ½ to 2 hours to clear the Mall after the fireworks.

Public access to the National Mall begins at 10:00 a.m., with all visitors required to enter via a security checkpoint. Read more about getting to the National Mall, public transportation, parking, security and road closures.

Washington, DC’s Independence Day Parade

Parade Start Time: 11:45 a.m.

Parade Route: Constitution Avenue and 7th to 17th Sts.

Washington, DC’s 4th of July Parade features marching bands, military and specialty units, floats, and VIP’s. The parade draws a large crowd, so plan to arrive early to stake out a good viewing spot.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The annual event includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues. The themes of the 2012 program will be: Campus and Community, Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River and Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding The AIDS Memorial Quilt. The hours on the 4th of July are 11 a.m to 5 p.m.

4th of July at the National Archives

The National Archives celebrates the 4th of July with special family programming celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Visit the National Archives Building for this special birthday party from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

White House Visitor Center Family Events

Between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., stop at the White House Visitor Center and enjoy games, crafts and other activities celebrating America’s Birthday. National Park Service rangers and volunteers will give you the opportunity to sample the sights, sounds, activities and personages that helped finalize the Declaration of Independence and create the United States of America on July 4, 1776.

Concert on the Washington Monument Grounds

From 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. the U.S. Navy Band perfroms on the Southwest corner of the grounds of the Washington Monument. The concert includes the talents of the U.S. Air Force Band, featuring American country music artist, Jo Dee Messina.

A Capitol Fourth Concert

Time: 8 – 9:30 p.m. (Admittance begins at 3 p.m.)

Location: West Lawn of the U. S. Capitol

A 4th of July tradition in the nation’s capital includes a live concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and several pop artists performing patriotic music on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. The concert and show is followed by a spectacular display of fireworks over the Washington Monument. The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets are necessary. The annual event will be broadcast live on WETA TV 26 with a repeat airing at 10:00 p.m.

4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall

Fireworks Time: At dark, usually around 9:15 p.m. Rain Date: July 5th

Launch Location: The fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument.

Best Places to View the National Mall Fireworks

U.S. Capitol

Lincoln Memorial

Jefferson Memorial

FDR Memorial

East Potomac Park

Rooftop Bars in Washington DC

Rooftop of the W Hotel (tickets required)

Anywhere along the National Mall between 14th Street and the Capitol

Aboard a cruise along the Potomac River (tickets required)

Spectacular views of the fireworks can also be seen from the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) in Arlington, Virginia near the Rosslyn Metro station and areas along the Virginia side of the Potomac River that can be reached from George Washington Memorial Parkway. You may park at the Gravelly Point parking lot, which is about a quarter mile from the 14th Street Bridge. Another great place to watch the fireworks is from the Air Force Memorial on Columbia Pike.

July 4th Weekend in Los Angeles 2011

4th of July Weekend in Los Angeles 2011

4th of July Fireworks Spectacular with Daryl Hall and John Oates at the Hollywood Bowl, July 2 – July 4, 7:30pm, $17.50-$173.00 – 2301 North Highland Avenue, (323-850-2000 or hollywoodbowl.com)

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” at Cinespia, July 2, 7:30pm, $10 entry, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, at North Gower Street, (cinespia.org)

The Queen Mary’s Red, White and Blues, July 4, 11am – 11pm, $24.95 Adult, $12.95 children 5-11, $21.95 military/seniors. Parking is $15. The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, (877-342-0738 or queenmary.com)

4th of July Americafest at the Rose Bowl, July 4, gates open at 6pm, $13 general admission, free for kids under 7 and active military members with a current ID. Parking is $20, The Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, (626-449-4100 or rosebowlstadium.com)

Dodgers 4th of July Fireworks, July 4, 6:10pm, $14.50 – $664.00, Dodgers Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Avenue, (323-224-1500 or losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com)

Soccer with Fireworks – LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders, July 4th, 2011, 7:30pm, tickets start at $20m parking is $15, Home Depot Center, 18400 Avalon Blvd., Carson (877-342-5499 or lagalaxy.com)

Fireworks at the LA Memorial Coliseum, July 4 at dusk, free, 900 Exposition Boulevard, at South Vermont Avenue, (213-763-3466 or nhm.org)

Mr. and Mrs. Muscle Beach at Venice Beach, July 4, registration begins at 7:30 am, judging starts at 10am, free for spectators, Venice Recreation Center, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, at 18th Avenue, (MuscleBeachVenice.com)

Palisades Americanism Parade, parade is free, concert is $2 per person, Parade, 2pm, entertainment 6:30pm, fireworks 9pm, Parade: Sunset Boulevard between via de la Paz and Drummond Street. Concert and fireworks at Palisades Charter High School, 15777 Bowdoin Street (www.palisadesparade.org)

F5 Tornado in Joplin, MO – May 22, 2011

F5 Tornado in Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011 – Live Footage

On May 22, 2011, a F5 tornado, the largest on the Fujita scale with wind speeds between 261 and 318 mph, blew through Joplin, MO.

F5 Tornado in Joplin, Missouri on May 22, 2011 – Damage from the Air

The entire city was essentially leveled.

Joplin, Missouri, Rebuilding after F5 Tornado on May 22, 2011
4th of July, Rush Limbaugh & American Patriotism

On the 4th of July, 2011, Rush Limbaugh make a patriotic speech in Joplin, Missouri, talking about American Greatness and American Patriotism.

4th and 5th Graders – What 4th of July Means to Me

Many 4th and 5th grade students were asked, “What does the 4th of July mean to you?” The following are some of their responses.

The 4th of July means many things to me, but most importantly, it means freedom. Without freedom, America wouldn’t be the country it is today. Brave soldiers have fought wars to give us our freedom, and we owe honor to these courageous soldiers. – Kassidy

The 4th of July means to me that it is America’s birthday. Usually we celebrate by walking to the lake with friends or cousins; then we find a good spot to see the fireworks. We usually have a lot of glow sticks and wear them on our necks, our wrists, our waists, our ankles. – Adam

4th of July is a great day! When America got its freedom and independence. A lot of Americans say that 4th of July of America’s birthday. We go to Bob’s Beach, where we have a picnic and watch the fireworks. They are so beautiful. – Journi

On 4th of July we go to the fireworks. My family and friends go to the lake and go on the boat. We go skiing and wakeboarding. When we go back to the dock, we go swimming and eat a bunch of food. When it gets dark we break our glow sticks and drop them in the water. Fourth of July is when Americans got freedom and for our soldiers. – Matthew

Since our nation’s birth on July 4, 1776, our country celebrates our freedoms in many ways. Each Fourth of July Americans fly our country’s flag with pride and place flags on the graves of our valiant soldiers. We hold patriotic parades and bands play patriotic songs. We gather with family, friends and community members to celebrate our nation’s birth with picnics. At the end of a long day of celebration, all across our great nation, fireworks explode to celebrate our freedoms. This 4th of July it’s time to stand together proudly, as Americans, and celebrate our great nation’s birthday and the freedoms we are blessed to have as Americans. – Mia

On the 4th of July my family and I go to my mom’s best friend’s parents’ house to swim. They have a diving board and a water slide! It is so fun! The Fourth of July means freedom and independence to me and I found out that it’s America’s birthday! – Kailey

The 4th of July means freedom to me because when they signed the paper of independence, we became free of war or any danger. Because of freedom we get more choices like shopping, going to really fun parks or going to college. Some schools don’t have the same choices we have. Like in our school we get to participate in choir and in strings and band program. I am really grateful. – Kimly

My family loves celebrating the 4th of July. We spend time with our family and friends. We watch fireworks being shot up into the sky over Lake Arrowhead. Another thing my family enjoys doing on the 4th of July is Jamboree Days in Crestline. Watching the parade puts me in the holiday spirit! – Robbie

It is America’s 235th b-day. It was born in 1735. 4th of July means to me my freedom. Freedom means to have a choice. There’s independence and it’s America’s birthday too. – Shane

What does the 4th of July mean to me? It is my favorite time of the year because it is very fun. I like the fireworks in the sky and that this is the day we got freedom and justice. – Xavier

My family celebrates the 4th of July by watching the fireworks with a few family friends. The 4th of July is a celebration of America’s birthday and when America got freedom and independence. America became a free country in 1776 and it is America’s 235th birthday. Ever since the 2nd year of America’s birthday they have been doing fireworks. I think having opportunities of independence is a privilege. – Sage

My family does some very exciting and interesting things on 4th of July. First we drive to Cambia, usually in our RV. We bring games for the long drive. When we get there, we hug our friends and family that live there. We eat dinner and hang out. Then we go to the beach and play until dark. Last we snuggle up in our sleeping bags and watch the fireworks. – Ellie

We go to a friend’s house and watch the fireworks. After that we hang out, eat dinner and have dessert. – Darien

We go to our friends’ dock and help set up for a party. Then we run to the grocery store and buy snacks. The kids change into their swim suits and jump in the lake. The adults set up chairs to watch the fireworks. Finally we sit back, relax and watch the fireworks. – Hailey

We celebrate in a way that makes it special. We don’t go to the village. We go in our backyard. We bring blankets and chairs and some snacks. We don’t need to have dinner for it to be special because all you need for it to be special is your family. When you wake up in the morning you don’t know what the day is but when you find out you just can’t wait until it starts. When that plane goes by you get excited but when it starts it’s the beautifulist thing you’ve ever seen. – Cheyenne

The 4th of July is special for my family because it is the United States independence. We have a family reunion at my house. My grandparents come over as well as my uncles, aunts and cousins. To eat my grandpa cooks beans and rice. When everybody is together, we go to the lake to see the fireworks show. After dinner we talk about our day. – Armando

My family celebrates Independence Day by watching fireworks, making food on our grill and congratulating every one who died for us. The best part is I get to see all my family. Independence Day is very exciting and important. – Leo

For 4th of July I hang out at my dock. I go in the water and fish. After about an hour at the dock we are off on the boat. We go over to North Bay and tie up. Usually there is a raft there. When night falls, we watch the fireworks on our dock. – Charlie

We go to the park and wait on the swings until the fireworks start. When my family and I go back home, we have a party. My uncle goes to Jensen’s and buys a really pretty cake. Finally we eat everything and my family sleeps over at my house. – Cindy

My family celebrates by enjoying the fireworks and by inviting people over like my cousins. After the fireworks are done we eat dinner. Then we sit on the couch and talk about what we’re going to do for the rest of the summer. – Shelby

For the 4th of July my family and I go down to the lake with a couple of chairs and watch the fireworks. Sometimes my dad BBQs. – Olivia

My family and I always go to Lake Arrowhead for the 4th of July. We have a big BBQ. Then we go out on the boat and dare each other to go in the water. My favorite part is the cool fireworks especially the ones that are smiley faces. Later we go back to the dock. – Ian

My family and I celebrate 4th of July by going to the Fourth of July festival in Crestline. We also go to the awesome fireworks at Lake Gregory, but the most fun thing is to hang out with my family. – Zachary

We go to my grandma’s and have homemade mac and cheese then go to the parade. We go to my dad’s work and watch the fireworks which remind me of our country’s birthday. – Elijah

We go to the lake to watch fireworks. We sit at the table closest to the lake then we go to the dock and watch the fireworks. I think about all the people who died for my freedom. – Dylan

On the 4th of July my family and I go to the lake. We watch the fireworks and sometimes celebrate with friends. Last year my dad actually helped put the fireworks together to make the show. We are going to do the same thing this year. My best friend, Kaylee, was there, too. We played all day while our dads worked on preparing the show. We had a picnic and got to swim. – Emilee

Sometimes we go to the park with my mom’s side of the family to watch people sing and fireworks. Other times we like to go to the bowling alley and play there. We also go to the Huntington Beach pier to watch the fireworks. Or we go to Disneyland to watch one of the biggest fireworks shows they have each year. One time we just stayed home with family. I love 4th of July celebration. – Brooke

The first thing we do is go to the lake and swim. Then we watch the fireworks. Next we go back home and watch a movie. Then we go eat at Home Town Buffet. Finally we go back home and go to bed. – Nicholas

My family does not celebrate the 4th of July. We have a regular day. I just play a board game with my brother or I just ride my bike. Sometimes I just sleep. Then I do some chores or call my friend Melody. I might just watch a movie. – Erika

My family and I usually spend the 4th of July on the lake but sometimes we watch it from my aunt’s house. I sometimes fall asleep but my brother always yells so I usually don’t. – Luke

My family always does the same thing every year for 4th of July. First we plan if we are going to celebrate 4th of July. Second we invite family members. Then we go shopping for food. Then we get everything ready. Our family members come, we eat, then we get to play games. Then we wait for the fireworks to come. Our house has a great view to look at the fireworks. – Kelly

The 4th of July means freedom to me. It is the day our nation won its independence from England. We can celebrate by wearing red, white and blue, by having barbecues or picnics, and by shooting off fireworks in celebration of America’s birthday! All of these family traditions help us to remember the importance of our independence and freedom. It is a day to show the world how proud we are to be Americans. – Naomi

My family has a barbeque, watches a movie and later goes to watch the fireworks. Then we go to the park. After that we go home. – Tylor

My mom invites a friend over. We play until we hear the fireworks. Next we go on our deck and watch the fireworks. Sometimes my mom’s friend sleeps over. – Dakota

On the 4th of July America celebrates independence from Britain. My family usually goes out to Lake Arrowhead. Our friends have a boat so we head out on the lake to watch the fireworks show. Other times we just stay home and barbeque hamburgers and hot dogs. Sometimes if we are lucky we can just see the color above our neighbor’s house. It is really neat. I think the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. It is so fun and colorful. It is wonderful. – Cody

The 4th of July is one of the most important days Americans celebrate. The 4th of July is a time when the entire United States shoots fireworks into the sky to celebrate their freedom. It’s a day Americans fill the streets with parades to give thanks to all of the American soldiers who have fought for America’s independence. By having freedoms, we are free to come and go as we choose. We can live where we want. Most importantly, it means we’re allowed to vote for our leaders. The 4th of July is a day where Americans come together to celebrate that we are a free nation. – Jahir

My family celebrates the 4th of July by going to the lake. We swim and watch the fireworks, but one time we saw them on our porch. People a street below us were playing wonderful music. – Olivia

The first thing my family does is pack up a picnic that we eat during the fireworks. Then we drive the truck over to the immense lake. The reason we celebrate the 4th of July is because that was when we were free and the U.S.A. stretched from one ocean to another. – Amber

We usually honor the people who fought for our freedom. We also have company come. We usually have a barbecue and enjoy ourselves. It’s really fun. I really like the sound the fireworks make when they explode. – Caleb

On the 4th of July me and my family go to Lake Arrowhead to watch fireworks. But there isn’t just fireworks. There’s actually an airplane that flies over the crowd before the fireworks start. – Uriel

The 4th of July isn’t just about parades, parties or money. It’s about freedom. Just think what could’ve happened if the British took control. Celebrate the freedom, celebrate America. – Lindsay

On the 4th of July, my family wears red, white and blue to celebrate the day our nation won its independence from England. My family flies our American flag at our home. We go to Lake Arrowhead or Lake Gregory as a family. We eat, play in the sand and swim. As the sun sets, we get ready to celebrate by watching all of the different kinds of fireworks that are shot high above the lake. What a spectacular sight! – Hannah

We go to the lake. We bring hats, flags and snacks. It is really hard to find parking so we have to park really far away. We go to our special spot. It has a great view. – Nick

We celebrate by having a good dinner of hamburgers and hot dogs. Eating food is a great way to celebrate when Congress voted to accept the Declaration of Independence. I love watching the colorful fireworks but I don’t like the loud noises. On our fence we put up a sign that says “Happy 4th of July.” We have an American flag that we put on our deck. No matter what my family does it is a blast. – Danielle

My grandparents come up from down the hill. We pig out on chips, then have a barbeque. My grandpa takes me to Jensen’s and get a donut. We go to Lake Arrowhead and watch the fireworks. – Joseph

We fish and hang out till 9 p.m. For dinner we ride the boat to the village to get McDonald’s. Once it is time, we park the boat in the middle of the lake and watch fireworks. I love to remember how people fought for freedom. – Taylor

On the 4th of July we go to our friends’ dock by the lake. We BBQ, watch fireworks and eat, which is my favorite part. – Zoe

We go to see fireworks. We have a picnic; my dad buys pizza. Then we buy a cake that says Happy 4th of July. – Eleazar

What it means to me is to have my family and me watch the fireworks. We have fun in the water. I enjoy playing with my cousins. My family always grills hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner. My favorite part is going on a boat. – Noah

The 4th of July is when we won our freedom from England. That is what it means to my family. We invite my other family members and have a BBQ at my grandmother’s house. – Caleb

We have some relatives over or some of my dad’s friends that he met in college. We also have a BBQ. Then we watch a movie. After the sun goes down, we go on our boat and watch the fireworks on the lake. – Elle

We invite our friends and family. We do a barbecue every year. Then if we have time we play the Wii. Then we go to see the fireworks. We celebrate the 4th of July because we won independence from England. In my family the 4th of July is our favorite holiday. – Nicole

I celebrate the 4th of July in Nebraska with my dad. The fireworks store opens about 3 weeks before the 4th of July. Then we go buy fireworks. My favorite fireworks are the parachute ones. – David

To some people, the 4th of July means food, fireworks and fun, but there is history behind our 4th of July celebrations which must never be forgotten. British colonists, in 1776, wanted their freedom from England so they could start their own nation in the New World. They signed the Declaration of Independence, but in no way was England going to let her colonies go. England and her colonies battled for eight years, and finally the colonists won their freedom, and the United States of America was born. Many Americans hold parades, wear red, white and blue, and sing patriotic songs. Many people hold flag ceremonies, put flags on soldiers’ graves and watch firework displays. All of these activities show patriotism for our great nation. Many men and women have died fighting to keep America free, and I am forever grateful to those men and women. – Jade

My family celebrates with all of our cousins and family coming to my uncle’s house. My cousins and I play games, tag, freeze tag or just ride our bikes. Then my uncle makes a barbeque and hot dogs. We also go down to the stream in our bikes. When we get there we go swimming. Finally the sun comes down and we go to a forest. You can see the fireworks so perfect. – Isaac

On the 4th of July my family and I go to see the fireworks. Then we eat a special thing my mom makes. Sometimes she makes tamales, meat or chicken. Last year, because my mom works at the hotel in Lake Arrowhead, we got to watch fireworks from the lake. It was fun. The fireworks were very colorful. Some were teddy bears, smiley faces and stars. I love the 4th of July. – Ivett

We go to our dock at about 8:30 a.m. and hang out with my aunts, uncles and cousins. We go swimming and fishing. Then at about 8:45 p.m. we go to see the fireworks on our boat. – Chiara

On the 4th of July my family goes to Canyon Lake because my dad sets off fireworks. My cousins, aunts and uncles come too. We have been going for three years. I hope we will go again this year. – Kaylee

We go to Disneyland for the 4th of July. After the sun goes down, we get our blankets, grab some food. We all go outside to look for the best spot to see the fireworks. I am glad we have 4th of July. – Gaby

I wake up early and walk over to my neighbor’s house for breakfast. After breakfast we all head over to their dock and go for a swim. All the girls go on the boat while the boys cook dinner. Right after we have dinner we go to see the fireworks. Then we all go for a stroll around the whole lake. After we get back we have dessert. Although it is a long day, all the kids have sleepovers and watch movies all night. – Samantha

I go to my friend’s house. They have a party from 12:00 to 7:30 and then go to the lake. At the lake we party and wait for the army jet to fly over. After that we wait for the fireworks to go off. We drink a lot of soda and go swimming. Later we go back to our friend’s house to play games. We listen to music for an hour. Then we eat and go home. – Caleb

My family and I always go to Lake Arrowhead to watch the fireworks. We also eat at the lake. We go to my grandparents’ house to celebrate. The 4th of July is always fun. I can’t wait for the 4th of July. – Liam

My friends and family go to the lake. We stay there about an hour. There we watch fireworks of different shapes and sizes. My mom sometimes call my grandma to tell her happy birthday. My two uncles, aunt, mom and dad play cards. – Yesenia

On the 4th of July I go to see the fireworks. Sometimes my aunt calls and asks me if I want to go to her house because she made food. Then we go to her house and I see my cousins there. I eat and talk to my cousin Lindsey. When my cousin Lindsey and I are finished eating we go and play outside. – Maria

My family celebrates by going to the lake to see the fireworks. While we get ready, my mom makes lunch. We go to the lake to swim and play tag. My mom tells us to get out of the lake to go watch the fireworks. – Alejandra

My family always celebrates going to the beach. We swim together. At night we make a fire and we eat hot dogs. At the next day we eat breakfast and then my mom and I walk to find beautiful seashells. When we finish we look for sea animals. I play with my cousins. We play sharks and see who can spend more time in the water. Then we eat fish. At night we make another fire and tell scary stories or funny stories before we go to sleep. The next morning my family and I swim together. Then we pack everything and go home. – Abigail

First me and my family go to a friend’s house and have a party. At the party we have root beer floats, pizza, ice cream and cake. After that we go to watch the fireworks. We get on a boat and go to Big Bear Lake. We go in the middle of the lake and turn off the boat and wait. When the fireworks start it is really scary because the fireworks look like they are going to fall on you. The coolest firework for me was the Pac-man one. I love all the fireworks. I wonder what fireworks they will use this year. – Adolfo

When it is 4th of July I go see the fireworks. It’s fun to see the big fireworks at the end. When we are done we go to my grandma’s house and eat. We go with my dad, my mom, my brothers and my sister. It is fun to see my aunts and uncles at my grandma’s house. We all talk to friends and family a lot of time. I always have fun playing with my cousins. I always have a lot of fun on 4th of July. – Alonso

When we celebrate the 4th of July my grandma and sister come up to visit us and see the fireworks. We go to the dock and watch the beautiful view then the fireworks. We think how wonderful it is to have independence. Some times we eat at the “A burger” and its always delicious. Ands that’s how we celebrate the 4th of July. – Summer

4th of July is our countries birthday. I celebrate 4th of July by going to a parade in Crestline and walking around town wearing all 4th of July clothes. I go to the village and go to the park to watch fireworks. They look so cool. My whole family comes to see the fireworks with me. The countries birthday is important. Also another name for 4th of July is Independence Day. I also respect my country! – Sierra

In 2009 I had the best 4th of July because my cousin Nick was living with us. We eat beans, rice, carrots and we have some kind of dessert. We sit outside and make a big fire; we cook marshmallows and have chocolate but we have a great time. – Danielle

On the 4th of July we celebrate our countries independence. We many of things to eat. We have lots of bbqs with our family. We eat barbacoa and steak. We also gather up and watch the fireworks. Me and Esteban watch them from my roof. Sometimes I see them at the lake. – Kailly

4th of July is when you celebrate America and some peoples birthdays. I think the way my family celebrates is very fun because in AZ we would ride our rhino up in the mountains. – Katryna

My family and I celebrate 4th of July by going to my aunts house. It is very fun because we also go out and eat at a restaurant or bbq. Then we watch baseball. When I go home I go on my deck and look at the stars. 4th of July with my family is fun. My favorite part is the fireworks. – Ben

What me and my family do for the 4th of July. Me and my family bbq and watch fireworks and have fun. We also remember the men who died in the revolutionary war for freedom. And peace from the British colonies. – Sebastian

What 4th of July means to me is when the country won independence from Britain. We go down to Lake Arrowhead and watch fireworks in the sky and see my friends. After that I go home. 4th of July was celebrated in 1776 and is a national holiday. Every year since, we have celebrated 4th of July and keep on celebrating 4th of July. – Oscar

It reminds me about my uncle that died. The second one reminds me of friends like close friends that you can trust. The third is it’s fun spending time with family. The fourth is the people who fought for us and gave us freedom to do what we want to do. The fifth is seeing the fireworks with friends and family. – Elisa

4th of July is a time when we remember two armies went to war and one nation came out. It represents freedom, hope and faith. Our country was founded on the grounds of freedom. Therefore, I don’t think the Fourth of July is just a holiday, it’s a national pastime. It’s a day to remember the brave souls that gave their lives for our freedom. Without them we wouldn’t be here today. So that’s what 4th of July means to me. – Brockton

I wait and have fun. In conclusion, we regained freedom because our soldiers fought for us. That is why I like 4th of July. – Justin

My family and I go to my cousin’s and sometimes they come up. We have a feast for dinner. We normally have turkey and rolls. We also have vegetables. Then we are done we have pie for dessert and ice cream. – Katie

The 4th of July is our country’s independence. We get to do a lot of stuff like BBQ, activities, and at night we watch the fireworks. We also have picnics. – Victoria

It’s a day we celebrate our country because people love to help our world and independence. We go to the river and sit on our boat and watch fireworks. It’s so much fun and maybe if we don’t like it then we go to the village and sit on the lake. – Sagekeay

We celebrate the 4th of July because that’s the day America got its freedom. We watch the fireworks and swim at the lake and have a picnic. – Kalley

Every year for the 4th of July we go to my uncle’s house and sometimes teenagers are having a party. Sometimes my cousin and I play guitar. When it gets dark at the beach, we go there and see the fireworks. – Andrew

The reason we have 4th of July is America’s B-day. What we do is we usually go to the dock and have dinner and go on the boat and watch fireworks. After they are over we stay on the boat a little longer. Then we leave. – Jason

My family does five important things every year. First, we will go to the lake all day. Next, we will decorate our boat with red, white and blue. Then we will water-ski until it gets dark. After that we have some friends over at our dock and have hot dogs. Finally, we all go on our boat and watch the fireworks. – Kacy

My mom makes a big dinner. We go outside and eat on the porch while we are watching the fireworks. My mom makes the best dessert ever; it is something like Jell-o. Then we all go to bed. – Feliz

We go to someone’s dock and get ready for fireworks. Then we watch the fireworks. Then we leave. – William

First we go to the lake and play for a while. Then we go somewhere for dinner like the Oak. After that we go back on the boat and get ready for the fireworks. Then we watch the fireworks. After that we go home and some of my dad’s friends come over. – Emily

We always go to Bob’s Beach. I always go swimming until lunch time, then I eat. After I eat I play with my sand toys. Then me and my friends build sand chairs. That is our tradition. – Riley

I’m going to watch the fireworks. Then after that I will go swimming. – Kyle

I go to my grandparents’ house. There we stay up until 12 o’clock or later. When it’s 11 o’clock at night, we all put little flags up. My sisters, brother and me have a water fight every 4th of July. – Christophe

We are allowed to drink as much soda as we want on the 4th of July. We usually go to a barbeque or have a cookout. Every year my family always sees fireworks, usually down by the lake. They are so loud and colorful! We also think about and honor the people that gained our country’s independence. It’s odd to try and imagine where we would be now if this important event had not happened. Liberty for our country changed everything. Thank you, founding fathers, for freedom from England! – Leah

The 4th of July is a holiday where you get to watch fireworks. My family goes to a friend’s house and eat hot dogs and hamburgers. – Braden

My family celebrates the 4th of July by wearing as much red, white and blue as possible. We go to my grandma’s for breakfast. She puts up flags on her decks. Later we go to my aunt’s house because it’s just a short walk to the lake. My brother and I take the lead since we always have flashlights. – Sammy

We celebrate the 4th of July by going to my grandma’s house and we eat dinner, then go to the lake and watch the fireworks. – Luke

Last year we went to see fireworks on Lake Arrowhead and we saw a the big ship that set off the fireworks. It was really cool. We know that Independence Day is the birthday of America. So we always wear red, white and blue colors and sunglasses with stars. We also take the American flag with us. Independence Day is really cool. It rocks! – Dylan

Each 4th of July, my family meets at my grandma and grandpa’s dock for a day of celebrating. We eat, talk, and swim in the lake. We play for a few hours, until the sun begins to set, and then we get on our boat and head out to a good spot on Lake Arrowhead to view the firework show. We listen to music until the first firework explodes overhead. It’s really cold over the water, so we wrap ourselves in blankets. We look up into the sky, amazed by the beautiful display of fireworks. The spectacular show lasts for 30 glorious minutes. Everyone oos and ahs throughout the entire extravaganza. Once the fireworks end, my family watches the lights of boats in the fog as we make our way back to our dock. We love to make jokes along the way. – Connor

The 4th of July is a special day for all Americans. It is the day we celebrate the birth of our great nation. It is the day we celebrate our freedom from England. On the 4th of July it is a time for Americans to show patriotism to our nation by singing patriotic songs, having parades, and displaying our American flags proudly. The 4th of July also is a time to remember all of the soldiers, past and present, who have fought to win freedom for our nation. Each 4th of July we place American flags on soldier’s graves. It is a time to come together as a community and country to show patriotism for our nation. Let us never forget to honor our great country and its freedoms each and every 4th of July. Let’s stand proudly for our United States of America! – Angel

The 4th of July means a lot to me. Most importantly, it means freedom. When I celebrate the 4th of July, I remember two of my family members who fought in World War II in the name of freedom. Many soldiers I know have fought to secure our country’s freedom, so that’s why Independence Day means freedom for my family and me. We Americans are very fortunate to live in the United States for many reasons. We have the right to vote, have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the freedom to attend the schools we desire. We may also choose a career of our choice. 4th of July is a symbol of freedom to all Americans who value freedom and the soldiers who have fought for it. War is a terrible occurrence, but necessary when protecting our nation and its freedom. Let’s all celebrate America and give thanks for the freedoms we have been granted under our Declaration of Independence. Freedom isn’t free and many people have paid the price by dying for our nation’s freedom. These are the main reasons why we celebrate the 4th of July! – Rylee

The 4th of July is the day when we became a great nation, and as Americans, we celebrate this important event each 4th of July. We celebrate by having picnic, parades, and firework shows at night. We honor our soldiers who fought to give us our freedom from England, so we could become the United States of America. We also honor all American soldiers who continue to keep our country safe and freedom alive and strong. The 4th of July is a wonderful, national celebration where citizens of the United States, are able to show the world how proud we are to be Americans. – Tristin

On July 4, 1776, our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence which led to America becoming a free country. The 4th of July means independence and freedom throughout America. We raise our United States’ flags in remembrance of all American soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the fight for our freedom. As a nation, we show the world how proud we are to be Americans by celebrating our nation’s birthday with a great national spirit. If you listen really hard, on the 4th of July, you will be able to see the pride of our nation bursting forth from our country’s seams. That’s because all Americans will be standing tall and proud this 4th of July! – Kaitlin

The 4th of July is a time to celebrate our nation’s freedom. It’s a time to remember all of the American soldiers who have died in wars to give us the freedoms that we enjoy today. When I see the fireworks, I think of them as the soldiers’ spirits. That’s when I stare and watch them up in the heavens. Some of the soldiers who have fought in our wars are still alive, and we must show them how proud we are of their sacrifices for our freedom. So, when we celebrate the 4th of July, wear red, white, and blue clothing to show your patriotism. Fly your American flags proudly, with honor, because we are privileged to live in a free country. Celebrate our country’s birthday with happiness in your hearts because you are living in greatest place on earth, America, where freedom rings for all. – Molli

4th of July means a time to celebrate the gift of freedom we experience living in America. First, I celebrate by thanking the heroic soldiers who fought in wars to achieve freedom for all Americans. Then, I go to my boat with my family while we listen to our “National Anthem.” Next, I wave my American flag and glow sticks in the air as I prepare to watch the firework’s show over Lake Arrowhead. My heart beats faster and faster until the first, “Pow!” How beautiful the fireworks look, as they shower down from above. What an exhilarating experience it is to celebrate the 4th of July with my mountain community each year. I hope and pray that we are always able to celebrate our great nation’s birthday freely, as one big happy nation. May we always enjoy the awesome freedoms of living in the greatest democracy on earth, the United States of America, and may our country live on in freedom forever. – Weston

The 4th of July means independence and freedom to me. On the 4th of July, my family and I are going to be on our new boat that my dad has been working on so hard to get it ready for us to use. He has put so much effort into our boat, and I feel that he deserves a long vacation this 4th of July. That’s why my family will be celebrating America’s birthday together as a family, on our boat. Isn’t it wonderful that Americans are able to celebrate the 4th of July however they choose? So, however you choose to celebrate the 4th of July this year, remember to stop and give thanks for living in America, where freedom is guaranteed to each of us under the United States Constitution. – Evan

The 4th of July doesn’t mean just food, parades, or fireworks, although all of these wonderful activities are a lot of fun. No, the 4th of July means freedom. Soldiers have fought and died, so we can experience the joy that comes fro living in a free country. Celebrating the 4th of July with picnics, parades, and firework displays is our way of showing our love for our country. Celebrating our country’s birthday, as a nation, brings big smiles, not just to my face, but to all American faces across our great nation. When Americans celebrate the 4th of July, they show their patriotism, and that they love their country very much. They also show how much they appreciate the wonderful privileges that come with being American citizens, where there is freedom and justice for all. So, this 4th of July, remember to say, “Happy Birthday, America, and may freedom ring forever across our wonderful country!” – Havana

I think that the 4th of July is a time to celebrate our country’s independence from England. It’s a day to fly American flags, wear red, white, and blue, and sing a lot of patriotic songs before watching fireworks bursting through the night sky at the end of a fun day. I think all Americans should celebrate the 4th of July because it shows patriotism for our great country. It is also a good time for family and friends to get together and have fun celebrating our nation’ s birthday. Happy Birthday, America! May freedom ring throughout our land forever! – Keegan

The 4th of July isn’t just a time to hold parades, have parties, or hang out with friends. It’s a time to remember America winning its independence from England. It’s a time to celebrate America’s birthday and the wonderful gift of freedom all Americans enjoy. It’s a time to remember all of the soldiers who have fought for our independence by placing American flags on their graves. It’s a very special day to sing patriotic songs, fly our American flags and hold flag ceremonies. It’s also a time to come together and celebrate our wonderful country with parties, parades and fireworks. Let us never forget to be thankful and proud of being Americans, and show our patriotism this 4th of July and always. – Christyna

Source: http://www.mountain-news.com/news/features/article_6ddc6cf6-a33b-11e0-862d-001cc4c002e0.html

Harvard, 4th of July & American Patriotism

Andreas Madestam and David Yanagizawa-Drott recently released a report (Harvard University 4th of July American Patriotism Report), stating that “Evidence suggests that important childhood events can have persistent effects on political beliefs and participation and that Fourth of July celebrations in the US affect the nation’s political landscape.”

Andreas Madestam is an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at Bocconi University (School of Business and Economics in Milan, Italy). David Yanagizawa-Drott is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

What is the purpose of disciplining a child? What is the purpose of sending a child to school to get an education? What is the purpose of going to church as a family? The answer is simple. It is to train our youth to become quality productive members of our society. The primary purpose of the Fourth of July celebration is to remember the birth and proud heritage of the United States of America.

The picture at the top right is that of the North Korea celebration marking the 65th anniversary of the communist nation’s ruling party. As part of the celebration, there were waving flags, shows of military might, parades and fireworks. Almost every country around the world has a celebration of its foundation. The United States of America is no different.

Historical Events on July 4th

1776 – Declaration of Independence signed

1803 – Louisiana Purchase is announced to the public

1817 – Construction of the Erie Canal begins

1827 – Slavery abolished in New York

1828 – Construction begins on B & O (Baltimore-Ohio): 1st US passenger railroad

1829 – Cornerstone laid for 1st US mint (Chestnut & Juniper St, Philadelphia)

1831 -”America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)” is 1st sung in Boston, Massachusetts

1836 – Wisconsin Territory forms

1845 – Henry David Thoreau moves into his shack on Walden Pond; Texas Congress votes for annexation to US

1855 – Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” is published

1861 – President Abraham Lincoln requests 400,000 troops; Skirmish at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

1862 – Lewis Carroll creates Alice in Wonderland for Alice P Liddell

1863 – Boise, Idaho founded (now capital of Idaho); General Robert E. Lee’s army withdraws from Gettysburg

1876 – 1st public exhibition of electric light in San Francisco, California; Batholdi visits Bedloe Island, future home of his Statue of Liberty

1881 – Booker T Washington establishes Tuskegee Institute (Alabama)

1883 – Buffalo Bill Cody presents 1st wild west show in North Platte, Nebraska

1889 – Washington state constitutional convention holds 1st meeting

1894 – Elwood Haynes successfully tests one of 1st US autos at 6 MPH

1895 – Katherine Lee Bates publishes “America the Beautiful”

1898 – US flag hoisted over Wake Island

1905 – Philadelphia A’s beat Boston Red Sox 4-2 in 20 inning game

1939 – NY Yankees retire 1st uniform (Lou Gehrig #4), 1st Old Timers Day

1941 – Howard Florey & Norman Heatley meet for 1st time, 11 days later they successfully recreate penicillin

1942 – US air offensive against nazi-Germany begins

1946 – Philippines gains independence from US

1950 – President Harry S Truman signs public law 600 (Puerto Ricans write own constitution)

1956 – Independence National Historical Park forms in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1959 – America’s new 49-star flag honoring Alaska statehood unfurled

1960 – America’s new 50-star flag honoring Hawaiian statehood unfurled

1966 – President Lyndon B Johnson signs Freedom of Information Act

1968 – Radio astronomy satellite Explorer 38 launched

1970 – Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40″ debuts on LA radio

1982 – 4th Space Shuttle Mission lands at Edwards Air Force Base

1985 – Tinker Bell’s nightly flight begins

1997 – US space probe Pathfinder lands on Ares Vallis Mars

2004 – The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City

2005 – The Deep Impact collider hits the comet Tempel 1

Andreas Madestam and David Yanagizawa-Drott make the argument that waving flags on 4th of July encourages a child to become a Republican voter later in life. I would like to argue a different point. Are Democrats not proud of our American heritage? Are Democrats not patriotic Americans? There are many psychological and emotional differences between conservatives and liberals as to how they think, feel, believe and act. And these thoughts, feelings, beliefs and actions do significantly impact how a person votes for a political candidate or political party.

I believe that American Patriotism is not a Democratic, Republican, conservative or liberal idea. I believe that most Americans, although not necessarily proud or happy about our current political situation or specific historical events in the past, are proud to be Americans. The United States of America has one of the largest influx of immigrants from around the world. People would rather risk their lives to live in the US than to stay in the country they were born in. And the answer is again simple. People move here and stay here because of the many things that make America great: freedom and economic opportunity.

In order to truly achieve success and freedom in America, you have to embrace and integrate into the American culture. Some might think that this means that you are forced to become something that you are not. It is more that you recognize and appreciate the freedoms and opportunities that you have in the United States of America that you are so overwhelmed with positive feelings that you voluntarily become an American Patriot.