Happy birthday to America, turning 245 this 2021!
We know this year’s celebration is going to look a little different this year for many Americans. But there is still a lot to celebrate! To help you get ready for what we think could be your best Fourth of July yet, we’ve put together some great tips to make the most out of this year’s Independence Day.
The History of Fireworks in America
We know, you’re on summer break! But still, here’s a quick history lesson in case you’ve ever wondered why we have a fireworks display each Fourth.
There’s a famous song in America that goes something like “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” Recognize it? Of course you do, but what you may not know is that the phrase comes from the Battle of Fort Mchenry (also known as the Battle of Baltimore) where our traditional celebration with fireworks came to be.
In the fall of 1814, the War of 1812 was still at large. An attorney known as Francis Scott Key boarded a British ship attempting to negotiate the release of an American prisoner of war. During that time, Key discovered Britain’s plan to attack Fort Mchenry and was thus promptly held detained by the British.
That night, Key was the witness of a major battle. As he watched the night sky light up, he could see the American flag in the distance. That symbol not only encouraged him to hold on to hope, but inspired him to write a poem that we now know as the “Star Spangled Banner.”
As a tribute to Francis Scott Key, America now celebrates Independence Day every Fourth of July by lighting the sky with fireworks.
Although Key is our greatest attribution to the fireworks show, the idea of fireworks started all the way back on July 4, 1776 when our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring America to be its own country independent from Britain. Thereafter, John Adams stated that this day should be long remembered and celebrated with parades, games and “illuminations,” otherwise known as fireworks.
Some ideas for enjoying your Fourth of July at home
Maybe you’re going to a show this year, and that’s awesome! But if you’re still staying at home, here are a few ways to make it fun. These are great weekend ideas too, by the way, even if you’re planning on heading out somewhere!
1. Make some Fourth of July themed foods
You’ll probably be at home this Fourth of July, but you can still get in the spirit! To get you thinking about Independence Day, why not try cooking some patriotic foods? A few ideas:
- Bake a pie and decorate it with stars, like this one, maybe?
- Make an American flag cake. Seriously, it’s as simple as adding some strawberries and blueberries. Check it out!
- Of course, there’s always grilling some traditional bbq, so long as it reminds you of childhood favorites and America! If you need inspiration, here are some ideas.
2. And some simple Watermelon Juice to go along with it
Watermelon as a drink? Yes! It’s delicious and simple. Watermelon is a reminder great times in the summer. This time around, try turning your favorite side dish into your favorite drink.
For easy instructions, check out this recipe.
3. Memorize at least one amendment in the Bill of Rights
Speaking of Independence Day, why not celebrate your freedoms by learning more about them? The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States are known as the Bill of Rights, which lists out each freedom you are guaranteed as an American citizen.
Without the events that took place in 1776, there would be no Bill of Rights. So make sure you know at least one of them and memorize it this Fourth of July. Then you can cite it to your friends like a pro.
4. Drive somewhere nearby and soak up some local history
You might be thinking there isn’t much “Fourth of July” history in Idaho. And yes, while we may not be near Revolutionary War historical sites, taking time to appreciate history anywhere in the US certainly counts! Here are a couple places in Idaho that likely aren’t too far from you:
- Drive along the Greenbelt. Enjoy a beautiful, quiet scenery in the great outdoors.
- Take an adventure to Shoshone Falls, Hells Canyon or another beautiful state park. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders.”
- Idaho Museum of Natural History. For thousands of years of history, try visiting a museum.
5. Above all, spend the day with someone you care about
Of course, the best part of any holiday is that you can surround yourself with people you love. Maybe you can’t all physically be together this year, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t connect through Zoom or FaceTime. And whoever can physically be there will be such a gift! Whether it’s a significant other or family and friends, be sure to spend your Independence with people you care about.