fbpx

Let’s Celebrate

It’s time to once again unleash your independent spirit. The 238th annual anniversary of the Declaration of Independence is upon us and it’s time to get out the sparklers, ice down beverages and bring out the Gordo’s Cheese Dip!

While we all love a good party, we sometimes forget about what we’re celebrating. Here’s a quick look at that first July 4th and why we are still celebrating it today.

In June 1776, the United States of America, while mostly united, were still colonies, not states and they were far from being independent of England. The representatives of the 13 colonies, then fighting in the revolutionary struggle, weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a beautifully written and emotional document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.  At the time, Founding Fathers such as John Adams felt July 2nd should be the day Americans celebrate this call for independence. However, (as he should have surmised) Americans are an independent bunch and they decided July 4th, when the document was made official by the signers, would be the official birthday.

Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.

From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

Let’s Celebrate!

Food has always been an important part of July Fourth celebrations over the years. Since the holiday falls in mid-summer, picnics and other outdoor cooking have been great excuses for families to get together and chow down.

One can almost imagine the portly John Adams, with his chef’s apron on (emblazoned with “Founding Fathers Know Best”) grilling up some early American cuisine – probably venison back-strap or wild turkey. It’s too bad John and the other founding fathers had no Gordo’s back then. As we have come to learn, it’s just not an Independence Day party without lots of Gordo’s Cheese Dip.

Here are some easy-to-prepare recipes for your July Fourth shindig.

Of course, the easiest recipes of all is buying 5 or 6 tubs of Gordo’s Cheese Dip, putting them on the table and placing a giant bowl of corn chips in the middle.

Betcha Didn’t Know

While you’re sitting around the pool or the backyard, waiting for the fireworks to start exploding, the conversation will naturally turn to the history associated with the Fourth of July. In order to keep in the conversation, you’re going to need some fascinating, historical facts. Have no fear. Your buddy the Big Dipper’s gotcha covered.

By the way, as you are dazzling your kids and friends with your historical knowledge, it’s always a good idea to start your factual recitation with a phrase like, “You know, I might be wrong, but”…then casually drop-in some brilliant factoid about the American Revolution.  Here’s a few that will impress your tribe.

In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.

Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day.

  • Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President (and not known for much else), was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.
  • In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in  salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island.
  • Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches,  prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.
  • In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute.
  • Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.
  • In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
  • In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees and in 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

  • While not a historical fact, but still interesting to backyard grillers, since 1972, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest has been held in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York.
  • The famous Macy’s fireworks display usually held over the East River in New York City has been televised nationwide on NBC since 1976. In 2009, the fireworks display was returned to the Hudson River for the first time since 2000 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s exploration of that river.
  • Since 1970, the annual 10 kilometer Peachtree Road Race is held in Atlanta
  • On the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C.,”A Capitol Fourth” a free concert, precedes the fireworks and attracts over half a million people annually.

Whew! That should get you through the time for the fireworks to start. If not, just ask if anybody needs another cold one or some more Gordo’s. That should get their minds off the historical trivia!

Have a safe and joyous Fourth of July. And remember, it’s almost un-American to have a party without plenty of Gordo’s Cheese Dip!

Now here’s one our favorite birthday songs for America from Ray Charles.