Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

June 28, 2012

AROUND THE TOWN: Fun facts about one of my favorite holidays

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner. Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is Wednesday, and those of us in Cumberland County will join the rest of America as we give homage to the breakaway from our mother country. Fourth of July falls just behind Thanksgiving and Christmas for me for numerous reasons: it is steeped, obviously, with history and tradition, and it always comes with great fanfare: fireworks, hot dogs, ice cream, family, friends, fun, parades, barbeques and water based activities.

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, whichever you chose to call it, has been a federal holiday in the United States since the year 1941. However, the actual traditions go back even farther than that, some say, as far back as the 18th century. This came after the 13 American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain.

Actions began in June of 1776 and by July 2, the Continental Congress voted to declare our freedom. Two days later, July 4, 1776, the delegates adopted the aptly named Declaration of Independence. This document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, became the precursor to what we now call one of the summer’s biggest celebrations nationwide.

Before I tell you about two local Fourth of July celebrations, I want to share with you a few fun facts about this 231-year-old holiday. Did you know there are 31 places in the United States with the word “liberty” in their name? Eleven places have the word “independence,” five the word “freedom,” one place is called “patriot” and five have the word “America” in their name such as American Fork, UT.

More than 190 million dollars are spent each year in the United States on fireworks, more than 80 million of us will attend a barbeque, 3.2 million in flags are purchased each year, 66 million of use will be at a national or state park on July 4, 72 million will visit a national historical site or national monument. Favorite Fourth of July foods? The traditional favorites are hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, potato salads, chips and, one of my most favorite foods ever, watermelon!

Oh, and perhaps the most interesting Independence Day fact of all: the British are coming! Literally, coming. Although the cry now applies to tourists rather than redcoats. Nearly 5 million tourists visited the United States last year from the United Kingdom. British travel to the United States is second only to Japan.

Locally, there are at least two events of note that Cumberland Countians may want to participate in to celebrate the country’s independence. They include a parade in downtown Crossville on Wednesday morning, July 4. My friend Lynn Speich, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, says the parade will begin at 10 am. Children are to line up around 9:45 a.m. behind the Palace Theater and walk to the Crossville Depot, just below French’s Shoes/Screen Door.

Lynn said, “Walkers, bicycles, strollers, etc. are all welcome but motorized vehicles are not.”

There is no admission to enter the parade. Children are also encouraged to wear red, white and/or blue. Bicycles, etc. may be also be decorated with the traditional Independence Day colors.

Fourth of July evening will bring with it the annual city of Crossville Fireworks Display. This annual event will begin at Centennial Park at 9 p.m. Thousands of locals as well as residents from surrounding counties attend this spectacular lights display over the city of Crossville.

Lots of folks will be on the roadways and waterways over the next few days in celebration of July 4, so remember to exercise caution whether driving or boating. Watch for other motorists, wear safety devices, observe speeds and don’t mix alcohol with operation of a vehicle of any kind. July 4 is one of the deadliest holidays in Tennessee both on the highways and the water.

***

Don’t forget to stop by the TAD Center’s “Everything Is a $1 Sale” this Friday. The sale will begin at 8 a.m. and will last until 3 p.m. All items, regardless of value, are just $1. All proceeds will benefit the TAD Center and its programs.

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