4th of July Traditions

From fireworks to treats to an annual reading of the Declaration of Independence

The 4th of July. Time to celebrate the birth of our nation in all-American style. Barbecues. Baseball games. Parades. The rockets red glare. And there's plenty of fireworks fire power to be found. We've got the ultimate guide to fireworks all around our area right here.

Viewing fireworks may be the most widespread tradition on the 4th, but it's not the only one.

My family and I attend a huge multigenerational pool party at my mom's house, where it's become a tradition to don Uncle Sam hats and read the Declaration of Independence aloud. It's not a long document, but it sure packs a wallop, right from the opening line: "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 . . . " And that's before you even get to those crucial truths our founding fathers held to be self-evident.

The piecy nature of the indictments against King George's rule make it easy for each participant to read a quick line, and the whole narration's over in less than 10 minutes. Ten minutes each year isn't a lot to reflect on the origins and longevity of our imperfect yet still impressive democracy.

After the reading, there's time to eat. Along with my previously discussed cheeseburger cake, there's a fruit-topped American flag cake, courtesy of my youngest sister, that looks a whole lot like the one pictured at right.

Red, white and blue also makes an appearance on the patriotic strawberries MomSpeaker Lisa Lightner dips, coating the berries in white chocolate and blue sugar (and using the prep as a teaching tool, too).

Tell us about your 4th of July traditions in the comments below. (My history-happy husband's been hoisting a different Colonial-era flag at our house each day this week, from the Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" to "Appeal to Heaven" to the classic Betsy Ross.) However you're celebrating, we wish you a happy, safe Independence Day.

Categories: MK Memo