In the United States, the Fourth of July is celebrated as Independence Day in commemoration of the Second Continental Congress formally adopting the Declaration of Independence in 1776. While that single act led to the creation of this country, there are many other reasons to celebrate freedom on July 4.
1. Statue of Liberty Offered to American People
On July 4, 1884, France officially presented Ambassador Morton with the Statue of Liberty at a ceremony in Paris. While France would pay for and arrange to have the statue shipped to New York, it wouldn’t be dedicated until October 28, 1886, after its pedestal was constructed and installation completed. In 2009, Lady Liberty celebrated another July 4 by reopening her crown to visitors after it was closed following the September 11 terrorist attacks, and she continues to symbolize freedom to millions of Americans and immigrants who see her each year.
2. West Point Academy Opened
July 4, 1802 was the opening day for the United States Military Academy at West Point, the nation’s oldest military academy. Established by Thomas Jefferson, the academy has trained more than 60,000 Army officers to fight for our nation’s freedom since it first accepted cadets, including notable military leaders such as Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jefferson Davis, Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton, and Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.
3. America Top 40 Countdown Premiered
Every American can celebrate freedom from mundane music on July 4, thanks to the 1970 premier of the American Top 40 Countdown. This radio program started on just seven AM radio stations, but today is heard around the world and includes a wide variety of music genres and the hottest artists and singles. Add a top 40 playlist to your iPod or other mp3 player and rock out to the best summer tunes!
4. National Country Music Day
While this musical holiday is an unofficial celebration, July 4 is National Country Music day and is a great time to listen to music from the top country musicians of all time. Add a bit of freedom flair to your tunes with popular patriotic country songs such as God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood, Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue by Toby Keith, and Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly by Aaron Tippin.
5. Knoebels Amusement Park Opened
Since its July 4, 1926 opening, it’s been easy to enjoy a day free from outrageous admission fees by at Knoebels Amusement Park. While the Elysburg, Pennsylvania park first opened with only a restaurant, swimming hole and carousel, today it has five unique roller coasters and a wide range of other rides, from kiddie rides to family fun to exciting rides perfect for summer thrill seekers. There is no overall admission charge for the park, and rides are reasonably priced.
6. Independence From Meat Day
While many people enjoy amazing barbecues on July 4, the day is also designated as Independence From Meat Day to encourage openness toward a vegetarian lifestyle. Even if you can’t quite go completely meat-free, look for great vegetarian side dishes for your holiday grillfest and offer more options for a delicious feast.
7. National Caesar Salad Day
A savvy chef will make the most of both Independence From Meat Day and National Caesar Salad Day by adding this tasty option to the Fourth of July menu. Invented in the 1920s, Caesar salads traditionally did not use anchovies in the dressing because their flavor could be overpowering. Today, there are a range of Caesar salad recipe options to add to a celebratory menu, including grilled salads, salad pizzas, and salad sandwiches.
8. Sidewalk Egg Frying Day
Food is a big part of holiday celebrations, and holiday menus have a lot of freedom for a range of delicious dishes. On July 4, Sidewalk Egg Frying Day is a fun option to celebrate food in a crazy summer way. While frying an egg on the sidewalk may not be the most appetizing way to cook, it can be a fun experiment for children and cooks alike. Otherwise, add a range of fried egg recipes to the holiday menu and enjoy a tasty party with friends and family.
9. National Hillbilly Day
The United States was founded on the concept of freedom from persecution for being who you are, and what better way to embrace that freedom than with National Hillbilly Day? Celebrating the culture of Appalachia and the Ozark Mountains, this isn’t a day to idolize rednecks, but to feel free to relax and enjoy country comforts – good food, good friends, and an overall good time free from judgmental attitudes.
10. Pathfinder Probe Landed on Mars
United States citizens enjoy many freedoms, and those freedoms can take us to the stars – and NASA’s Pathfinder probe took the first step when it landed on Mars on July 4, 1997. What better reason to commemorate the Fourth of July than by stretching freedoms beyond our own borders and reaching for new heights to celebrate?