Freedom (and Food!) on the Fourth

July 4th.

In my mind, it’s more than the anniversary of the United States’ declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776.

It is a day synonymous with the most cherished of values the world over—freedom.

For all you history buffs, here is the chain of events which led up to America’s freedom:

  • April 19, 1775: New Englanders began fighting the British for independence.
  • July 2, 1776: Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain.
  • July 4, 1776: The Declaration of Independence was first published.
  • July 8, 1776: The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
  • August 2, 1776: Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence.
  • July 4, 1870: (Almost 100 years later!) Independence Day was made an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
  • July 4, 1941: Independence Day became a paid holiday.

And here are 10 fun ‘freedom’ facts to impress friends and family at this weekend’s festivities:

  1. The 2nd of July is actually the more appropriate day to celebrate the nation’s birthday (given that this was the day that Congress voted for independence).
  2. The Declaration of Independence, a justification for the US revolt against the British with a list of charges against the British king, was drafted by Thomas Jefferson on his ‘laptop’, a writing desk that could fit in your lap.
  3. At the last minute, the words of the Declaration of Independence were changed from “the pursuit of property” to “the pursuit of happiness”.
  4. Only two men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776 — John Hancock and Charles Thompson.
  5. John Hancock, president of the Second Continental Congress, signed the declaration first and his huge signature left little room for the others. In fact upon signing, he is rumored to have said, “There, I guess King George will be able to read that.” (His autograph became so famous that people still use the term ‘John Hancock’ as a synonym for signature).
  6. 3 US presidents have died on July 4th: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.
  7. Calvin Coolidge, America’s 30th President, was born on July 4th 1872.
  8. In 1776, about 2.5 million people lived in the United States versus almost 320 million today.Jul 5_Chef and Recipe
  9. The date, “July 4, 1776,” is inscribed on the tablet held by the Statue of Liberty. The statue is an icon of freedom and welcoming signal to immigrants.
  10. The Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846 (due to fears about cracking this famous freedom symbol). Instead, to mark the 4th of July every year, the 2000 pound bell is tapped 13 times to signal that bells across the country can start to ring.

John Adams described how we should celebrate; “…with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports,… and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.

Great advice! So enjoy the summertime celebration with family, friends. And please remember that even though hot dogs and hamburgers are typical July 4th fare, there really is nothing yummier than barbecued veggies.

Here at University of California Davis Integrative Medicine, we would like to help you celebrate 239 years of American independence by sharing my Pepper Picnic Salad with you.

Happy Independence Day to all!