Fourth of July celebrations are one of my very favorite things! It would appear Mother Nature enjoys a few fireworks, too, since she showed up early last Saturday at 1:00am, celebrating for less than thirty minutes, dressed as a rather violent “derecho” and blazing a straight line trail of destruction throughout our South Jersey region – and my hometown specifically hard hit. Here’s an amazing photo taken over Atlantic City, New Jersey where she stopped off after beating us up!
|Photo by Ken Discount.|
More on the details of this rare storm and what it’s been like living in the aftermath of it soon! Presently, though, we’ve had to postpone our city celebrations until this weekend when – hopefully – all the power will be restored to the many families struggling through 100 plus degree heat and limited resources. As a whole, the town is not really in the celebration mood.
I prepped my patriotic posts to the purpose last week in anticipation of the Glorious 4th – and yet another birthday this week for a special fella celebrating on July 6!
That’s right – good old Uncle Sam!
In honor of the occasion, I prepared THREE of my favorite things: A nice piece of my daughter’s bright white Angel Food cake – made from scratch, I might add – complimented with a side of red cherries and blueberries.
Red raspberry iced tea served in my cobalt blue goblet is my beverage of choice alongside this treat.
I think I shall enjoy this patriotic repast while I take in a reading from William Bennet’s The American Patriot’s Almanac – a story detailing the origins of our national mascot sporting the stars and stripes in top hat and tails.
It would seem that a New York businessman named Samuel “Uncle Sam” Wilson supplied the American Army with barrels of beef during the War of 1812. Each barrel was branded with a “U.S.” to distinguish it as government rations. Folks eventually began to connect the “U.S.” with “Uncle Sam” – Wilson’s nickname.
As the 19th century wore on, political cartoons birthed the imagery of Uncle Sam in the familiar top hat, tails, stars, and stripes. But, Uncle Sam truly came into himself when artist, James Montgomery Flagg was commissioned to design the cover of Leslie’s Weekly magazine during World War I. The image we’re most familiar with of the white-bearded fellow accompanied a headline asking, “What Are You Doing for Preparedness” on the July 6, 1916 issue. Mr. Flagg used himself as the model to save money.
The image was used again in its most enduring incarnation when the government attached it to a recruitment slogan “I Want You for U.S. Army – or Navy” – or what-all of military service during the Great War.
Since then, Uncle Sam has appeared in countless manifestations, not the least of which is my wrought iron reproduction of a 19th century bank where you put a penny in Uncle Sam’s hand . . .
Oops! Plum outta pennies . . . and, with the push of a button, it’s deposited into his waiting briefcase!
Well – isn’t THAT the story of our lives some 236 years after our Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence to separate us from big government taking too many of our pennies!
And, that’s as political as I’m willing to get at this time – though I DO have rather strong opinions on the subject. Been looking for a few good John Adams’ these days. Yeah . . . well . . . that’s history.