WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — On this day in July 4, 1776, the dream of our American forefathers was realized, declaring independence from the reign of British tyranny with the formation of the United States of America.
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation,” the Declaration of Independence read.
Each year, we celebrate the freedoms that independence affords us all — the freedom to form and act upon decisions with free will, based on our own intuition — without the guiding hand of a ruler overseeing and dictating our actions from a faraway land.
There are many ways to celebrate such freedoms, all of which are inherently American.
These are the 5 Most American Things to Do on July 4th:
5. Watch Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
While the inaugural year of this annual tradition has been disputed, it’s clear that every year on July 4 since at least 1972, Americans fix their gaze on their television sets to see the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, held in its original location, Coney Island, New York, as the gluttonous contestants compete to shovel as many hot dogs down their throats as possible in a ten minute span.
4. Attend a baseball game
Baseball has long been held as ‘America’s pastime.’ No truer understanding why can be realized than heading downtown to the ballpark, with friends or family, sitting under the warm summer sun, reaching for a cool beverage (maybe a pint), and sipping in 9 innings of America’s most storied professional sport.
3. Grill out
You want a tradition as ‘American as apple pie?’ How ’bout you grab a slice of apple pie as dad fires up the ole’ grill and cooks a heaping pile of hot dogs, hamburgers and corn to go along with that fresh glob of potato salad you just smeared on your paper plate. The grill marks. Always go for the dog with the grill marks.
2. Watch the fireworks
Although at the time our nation’s independence was declared, Washington, D.C., was not our capital (the city was under construction, with D.C. later being named the capital in 1791), every year, thousands upon thousands gather in the city and at high points around it to take in the fireworks display.
1. Pay respects to the fallen
With wars being waged and American boots on the ground far and wide every single day, through the constant stream of the 24-hour news cycle, it’s easy to forget as proceed through the steps of our daily lives, the efforts, past and ever-present, put forth and the sacrifices made to ensure our everyday freedoms aren’t jeopardized. As we sit, taking in a baseball game, or watching the hot dog eating contest from the comfort of our homes, and blasting fireworks into the air, the foremost American thing any of us can do, is to take a second and pay respects to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and those who have or are currently protecting our right to do these things we so often take for granted. Better yet, don’t just say ‘Thank you’ and move on with your day. Donate.