Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam!

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!

Just sayin’.

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.

Joyful July Festivities to you all!

About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and blogs at PageantWagonPublishing.com.


  1. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for your wonderful post full of history! Your food looks delicious as well as beautiful and patriotic. I hope you had a good July 4th, and I hope you didn’t sustain storm damage at your home.

    I love your e-card about purchasing and taxing. Not difficult to guess what that’s referring to. I also have VERY STRONG opinions about that and so many other things going on right now. Let’s hope and pray that enough people who feel the same way will show their feelings at the voting booth this November. Frankly, I don’t think we can take another four years of this “Hopeless Change.”



  2. I enjoyed the history lesson. And I’ve been reading about that rotten storm in Blogdom. I hope that you have your power and the others in your community.

    The Commentary on current events is very like the thoughts I have on the subject.

  3. Hi: I always learn something when I visit you. This post is not only educational, but beautiful. I too agree with you and have very strong opinions about your message. Thank you for the wonderful history lesson and you great addition to our weekly party. Blessings, Martha

  4. I ADORE American history and took the opportunity this past week to review the Declaration of Independence and The Bill Of Rights. Thanks for the info on Uncle Sam and Mr. Flagg. I also have strong political opinions which just today compelled me to make 20 phone calls to California Assembly members! I regularly contact my state Congressman and Senators. I am of the belief that our freedoms are easily disposed of if American citizens do not value, appreciate and fight to keep them.

  5. I love your Uncle Sam bank! How cute is that? I also enjoyed the back story because I didn’t know it.

    I also didn’t know that Bennett had compiled that almanac. I loved his Book of Virtues and will be looking for a copy of this one.

    And the e-card was a chuckle for me, even though I realize it’s no laughing matter at all, is it?

    Great post as usual, fellow patriot.

  6. I was awestruck by that lightning picture and looked at it for a long time.

  7. Enjoyed the history lesson. Really would like a slice of that cake and a glass of that tea! LOL! Hope that power gets restored in your town quickly. Praying for you all there to be protected by the hand of our Lord. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  8. Hello Katheryn, I came over to say hello and learned a lot about Uncle Sam etc. Thanks for posting this very interesting post. I enjoyed reading some of our American history.

    That storm was scary. Are the power outages fixed yet? I hope so.

    My Mom’s oldest brother was 6’7″ and my grandmother made him an Uncle Sam outfit so he could be Uncle Sam in all the local parades. He was a big hit. When our daughter first met him she was about 4 and she asked me if he was God. HA!

    In spite of the storm, I hope your 4th was a good one.

    xo, Jeanne

  9. What a delight to meet your sister! I am just a little envious of you getting to eat all her wonderful food! I enjoyed your history lesson! I also appreciated your ecard! Have a wonderful day, dear friend! Twyla

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