As we prepare to celebrate the birth of America’s independence, it was John Adam’s attempt to actually make July 2nd the day to celebrate America’s independence from Britain. That was the actual date in 1776 that the Second Constitutional Congress voted to declare its intentions. The Revolutionary War officially ended on July 4, 1783, and it wasn’t until 1938 that the Fourth was declared the actual federal holiday. Ironically John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the 4th of July, making the day even more memorable.
Another fact that most do not know is that the United States is not alone in celebrating the 4th. Because so many Europeans immigrated to the United States in the 1900s Denmark, Norway, Sweden and, interestingly, even England all celebrate the Fourth of July. The first barbecue grill also made its way to American backyards in the 1950s, thanks to Chicago native Don McGlaughlin. Most American’s will congregate around the grill this weekend and, of course, watching fireworks. Contrary to what some believe, Americans were not the first to invent the barbecue. Anthropologists say that mastering the fire during our primitive years is precisely what today draws man to grill outdoors over flame.
Before Neanderthal man, it was the Homo erectus that first tasted cooked meat approximately 1 million years ago. Though, back then it was men who were skilled hunters and women who cooked. But since most men have set aside their weapons and taken over the cooking, well, at least the grilling. Be aware ladies, if there are more than one male present at a likely barbecue you and your mate will be attending; there might be a little peacocking going on in a battle to win the best spot at the grill.
On this day, let’s not forget to honor not only the men and women in uniform who have served our country but also the families. Regardless of being together or divorced, families and spouses make far more sacrifices than people realize. They are rarely honored or even mentioned as they should. From personal experience military life, the moving, deployments, constant changes and uncertainty, are extremely difficult. Some spouses have to do all of this with kids and are often single parents while their soldier is off somewhere deployed on the other side of the world. For those who have supported a service member at one point in their life, you deserve acknowledgment as well.
Our lives can be challenging as it is. Without a strong family unit none of us can do our jobs as effectively. And if you are one that has at one point been a military wife or military brat, like me, Independence Day is a personal symbol of my renewed freedom. Thankfully, I no longer have to make the kind of sacrifices it takes to live a military lifestyle. I commend anyone who can deal with it. My salute is to you, the families. Because it’s a service member’s job to be in the military, and it becomes the choice of their spouse, whether they like it or not. Witness the extremely high divorce rate, as 97 percent of divorces in the military coincides with deployments.
Nonetheless, as you and yours celebrate America’s 238th Independence Day, keep the kiddies safe from fireworks. Or, if you’re adults without little ones and plan on drinking then rely on Uber if you need a ride. It’s generally cheaper than a hiring a taxi and you get to meet ordinary folks who are supplementing their income by providing the service. And you won’t have to worry about getting pulled over by the “po-po.”
From service members, to their families, and to the ordinary civilian it is my sincere hope that you remember to be grateful for your own personal independence and feel gratitude for the ability to spend time with those that really love, honor and respect you.