Fourth of July means fireworks, but this Beaufort law may dampen your plans
With only 18 days given to the task of writing and polishing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams adding their suggestions, presented the draft to the Continental Congress for passage.
On June 7, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia made the statement: “That these United Colonies are, and of a right ought to be, free and independent states.”
The Continental Congress, after making some changes, made the final draft that was formally adopted on July 4, 1776. So now, 243 years later, the United States of America celebrates its birthday on July 4, just as it has every year since the Declaration of Independence was signed.
As John Adams said, “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
It was first observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776, and in 1941 Congress declared July 4 a legal public holiday.
Americans love holidays and have no problem with exhibiting the antics associated with the sixth letter of the alphabet, the letter “F” standing for the Fourth of July, Freedom, Flying Flags, Fireworks, Family, Food and Fun!
My cousin, the Rev. Ralph Fleming of Stoney Creek Drive in Pritchardville, very patriotic in his day, always had American flags flying from the corners of each post at the head of the road. They reminded everyone driving by on Scenic Highway 46, seeing them flying high unfurling in the breeze, how much reverence and patriotism the United States flag holds for us.
The Flemings also held annually at their home fronting the headwaters of Stoney Creek, under moss-laden limbs of shady oaks, a celebration for extended family members on the Fourth Of July. It was a day of fun and games, a coming together, with everyone bringing a favorite dish of food. There was always an ample supply to satisfy the hungriest of appetites.
One year I took a dish that was not only festive but appealing to the eye, and delicious too. Here’s my recipe:
1 16-ounce can Bush’s Cocina Latina beans
3 8-ounce containers of Sabra guacamole spread
1 16-ounce jar salsa
1 8-ounce bag fine shredded cheddar cheese
24 ounces French onion dip or sour cream
24 black olives, cut in half lengthwise for “stars”
19-20 grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise for four “stripes”
In an 11x14 glass dish, layer the beans, quacamole spread, salsa, shredded cheddar cheese and onion dip/sour cream. In the upper left corner outline with a table knife a rectangular box for the flag’s star field, filling in with sliced black olives. Then create the flag’s stripes with cut grape tomatoes across the white “dip/sour cream” topping. Serve with tortilla chips.
This makes a red, white and blue, seven-layer dip that’s pleasing to the eye, easy to carry to a picnic and, most importantly, delicious to eat with tortilla chips.
▪ According to federal flag laws and regulations, the flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset, except during inclement weather. It may be displayed 24 hours a day as long as it’s “properly illuminated” while it’s dark out.
▪ The colors of the flag have important meaning. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
▪ When Congress adopted the “Stars & Stripes” as the American Flag June 14, 1777, the official version of the flag displayed 13 stripes and 13 stars for the original colonies.
▪ Our current U.S. flag, with 50 stars and 13 stripes, was designed in 1958 by 17-year-old high school student Robert G. Heft in Lancaster, Ohio, and chosen by President Dwight D. Eisenhower out of 1,500 entries.
Enjoy and have a safe Fourth of July celebration!
Jean Tanner may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.