Tag: Fourth of July

Fourth of July Cupcakes, Dill and Annika Style

 

Fourteen years ago, “Dill” and Annika were seven and five . . . 

Just because your mom is busy working at her computer doesn’t mean you have to celebrate the Fourth without baked goods from your kitchen.  We all know what a die-hard tradition cupcakes are on the Fourth, so here is our simple recipe for the fun holiday confection that calls for minimal disruption to your mother’s work schedule.

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For Independence Day, on the Fourth of July, I offer a list of posts this weekend on topic. Some posts may be about celebrations and observances. Some may be about history. There will surely be food and drink posts, music posts, and hopefully fireworks! How about a favorite recital of the Declaration of Independence? What […]

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We Win, They Lose (Or How I Learned To Love The Fireworks)

 

Ronnie had a way of getting to the point, didn’t he? Further, he was correct much more often than he wasn’t. Betting against America is folly, and I suspect it’ll stay that way for some time. This isn’t to say keeping that our republic will ever be an easy task, but losing it is harder than most seem to think. Perversely, the assumption that our best days are overlooks like one of a few topics that enjoy a bipartisan consensus. (I mean… C’mon, man!)

Freedom for Me but not for Thee

 
Rushmore with American flag

Image from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota, 30 June 2021

The current administration has both encouraged Independence Day celebrations and banned fireworks over Mount Rushmore. While covered by a supposedly non-political National Park Service (NPS) administrative ruling, the decision smacks of petty vindictiveness. Beyond spite and contempt of all who dared defy their betters in Washington D.C. over the past year, there are racial grievance and environmentalist left aspects to this Democrat NPS decision. A federal district court followed federal legal precedents, correctly ruled against South Dakota and Governor Noem, who requested a court order directing NPS to issue the 2021 special use permit, so there will be no fireworks over Rushmore this year, nor should we expect a show unless a Republican is somehow able to gain the presidency in the future.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with David Hackett Fischer, University Professor and Earl Warren Professor of History Emeritus at Brandeis University, and the author of numerous books, including Paul Revere’s Ride and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington’s Crossing. As America prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, they review key figures who helped secure independence from Great Britain, including Paul Revere, immortalized in Longfellow’s classic poem, and Founding Father George Washington, known among his contemporaries as the “indispensable man” of the revolutionary cause. Fischer sets the scene for the famous midnight ride, describing what students should know about colonial Boston, and why the British Empire posed such an existential threat to the colonists’ understanding of their rights and liberties as Englishmen. The conversation turns to the lessons teachers and young people today should learn about George Washington’s character, weaknesses, and military leadership during the colonists’ improbable victory against the most powerful empire in the world at that time. He also offers a preview of his forthcoming book, African Founders.

Stories of the Week: In New Jersey, the state’s Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision allowing expansion of seven Newark charter schools approved by the education commissioner, clearing the path for charters to serve thousands more students. In Massachusetts, the education commissioner is under fire from the state’s congressional delegation for proposing to temporarily freeze $400 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding earmarked for Boston Public Schools, due to concerns related to the Boston School Committee, which has experienced a string of resignations in the past year.

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt joined host Ben Domenech to discuss the recent demands for the destruction of Mount Rushmore National Memorial and his goals for ensuring all Americans can enjoy it and all other federal land.

Bernhardt said that the ability to visit national monuments is irreplaceable, and he believes that most Americans agree that they have beauty and purpose. Therefore, he said, he is always working to ensure that monuments are protected and accessible to everyone.

Celebrating the Fourth With Brits

 

Growing up, I read some military history. One book I remember, well the topic but not the title, was on north Atlantic convoys during World War II. One of the stories that stuck out was of a convoy celebrating the Fourth of July. It was, in today’s vernacular, a coalition convoy. I don’t remember details, if some allies were stationed on each others’ ships or if it was just a mixed fleet of protecting warships, but I remember trying to imagine myself amongst Americans celebrating the Fourth with the British. Twenty-five odd years later I was able to celebrate the Fourth with some RAF officers.

In May 2013, I deployed to an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia with its own Facebook page. None of my predeployment training mentioned that it was an undisclosed location. At the time, Al Udeid was practically Davis-Monthan Forward so everyone knew where you were going. It wasn’t until I arrived at the ‘Deid that I was told it was undisclosed and not to mention where I was. Then Secretary of Defense Hagel visited us in December 2013 and it was officially disclosed.

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No, it’s not Christmas as you might think. No, the day they hate the most is the Fourth of July. The Fourth of July is when American flags are unfurled all over the country and fly high. There are parades—real pride parades, picnics, barbeques, and fireworks.  It’s a day when the people who make the […]

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The Great Fireworks Show of 1995

 

fireworksIt all started near the end of our senior year of high school — the unofficial Senior Skip Day, to be precise. My best friend and I took off for a bit of joyriding in the Mohican Valley in his overhauled pumpkin orange ’78 Chevy pickup on a beautiful and sunny Tuesday morning in late May.

Graduation was just two weeks off, we had some cash set aside, and so when not scaring old Volvo station wagons as we slid and bounced through the twists and turns of the gravel roads, we aimed for a little fireworks shop you could pass a hundred times without knowing it was there. We signed the “liar’s form,” dropped our cash, and walked out with some packs of saturn missiles, some mini mortars, a six-pack of Black Cat shells, and some fountains, then pointed the nose of the truck towards the cabin and set about trying to get airborne on some of the humps and crossroads. We may also have braced one of the mortars against the truck door and aimed it in the general direction of some cows.

So began our love affair with fireworks. We used some of the goodies at graduation parties (although we had to abort at my friend’s party because a police chopper dropped a spotlight on us before we could start — he lived in the city), and fired the rest off the night of the fourth. My parents lived out in the country, so my dad (himself a fireworks devotee) let us light ’em up after dark. The Black Cat shells were particularly impressive, giving us multi-colored star bursts and aerial crackling. We wanted more, but August had us going our separate ways to different colleges. Still, we agreed to put some money aside for a more impressive show come New Year’s. While watching the stars and screamers burst over the snowy fields, my father made us an offer: He would sponsor us to put on the show to end all shows on July 4.

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Today, as we celebrate two-hundred and forty years since our forefathers declared independence from a capricious, elitist, and vindictive regime, remember that, with strategy and hard work, there are only two hundred days remaining until we are free of a capricious, elitist, and vindictive regime of our own making. Happy Independence Day to all of my friends at […]

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Since 2013, I’ve written a Juvenalian satire (socio/political, not comic) for Independence Day. And this year is no different. Happy Independence Day, Ricochetti. The tides have turned. Your comments, questions, interpretations, and critiques are welcome. The Turning Preview Open

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We just celebrated Flag Day. As I drove through our town, flags were lowered on Flag Day to half-staff. The news of the terrorist attack in Orlando was just settling in with a deep heaviness upon our state of Florida, the nation and the world. I have a handful of small flags that I tuck […]

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A few days ago, I presented a round-up of online commentary with a decidedly anti-American bent, timed to coincide with Independence Day. Perhaps “anti-American” is too strong a word.  These were more like rhetorical wet blankets on your Fourth of July fireworks than anything remotely treasonous. Preview Open

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Today, I did something incredibly American. I went to a gun show on the Fourth of July.  While wandering the aisles, I saw a huge (at least 6’6″, 300 pounds or so) black man arguing with a classic Florida redneck (about six feet and half that weight) and a short, pudgy Puerto Rican guy (the PR […]

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Much of the media class (to us a convenient shorthand) doesn’t genuinely love this country—at least not the country as we have known it.  They’ll tell us that they love what this country “might become,” or that they love some of the things for which this country supposedly stands. Ultimately, though, they’ll mitigate their pseudo-patriotism with […]

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I wanted to present something a little different for the Fourth, and though Washington’s passing was well after 1776, I thought a commemoration of the great General’s passing would be an indirect way of celebrating Independence.  I posted this great speech by the man who was Robert E. Lee’s father on my blog, more from […]

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4 on the Floor for the Fourth

 

150701120633-calvin-coolidge-nationals-exlarge-169Quietly (which seems appropriate), it’s been a good year for Calvin Coolidge. America’s 30th President is this year’s choice as the White House Historical Association’s annual Christmas ornament. And tonight he gets to take what may or may not be a victory lap when an oversized Coolidge mascot competes at the Washington Nationals’ “running of the presidents” — a fourth-inning dash around the ballpark also featuring the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft (if the mascots are done to scale, getting stuck behind Taft would seem like a ticket to defeat).

About Coolidge: he’s also the only American president born on America’s birthday (in 1872, in Vermont’s Plymouth Notch). Which prompted me to write this column for Forbes.com about four aspects of the 4th of July that pertain to Republican presidential hopefuls and and the coming election:

1) Coolidge. In this remarkably bunched-together field of Republicans, which candidate(s) comes closest to “Silent Cal” as an espouser of tax cuts, deregulation, and limited government? Remember, it’s not just Ronald Reagan who championed conservative beliefs in a 20th Century White House. Here’s a Coolidge address to Congress, from December 1923 (his first year in office), to get you thinking . . .

Exporting America

 

Thaddeus_Kosciuszko_sculpture,_Public_Garden,_Boston,_MA_-_IMG_5481In Still the Best Hope, Dennis Prager argues that American values — roughly, the small-l liberal values that underlie the Declaration of Independence and U. S. Constitution — demand to be exported. Elsewhere, Prager describes these values as the American Trinity: the beliefs in a transcendent God, in liberty, and in the emphasis of culture and values over ethnicity or race. These values, he says, can be adopted around the world and integrated into existing national identities. We can quibble with the definitions and the choice of words, but Prager’s onto something profound here.

While there’s much Americans — or those from Anglosphere countries with similar values — can and should do to help others, the ultimate burden falls on those elsewhere. Doing so often takes tremendous effort and even great courage. July Fourth seems as a good a time as any to honor those who’ve risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to further the ideals exemplified by the American Revolution.

For starters, I’ll nominate Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746-1817). Kościuszko is one of those figures whose biography is too rich to summarize easily, so what follows is only a very rough sketch (cartoonist Kate Beaton gave the task an effort here; it’s great if you don’t mind a little language). Born a Polish-Lithuanian noble, he emigrated to the United States in 1776, where he served in the Continental Army as an engineering and a combat officer. He oversaw the fortification of West Point, fought in the South Carolina campaign under Nathanael Greene, and befriended both Washington and Jefferson. If you’ve ever been to Monticello, you’ve likely seen his famous portrait of Jefferson.