One day a year, the American people are given the OK to publicly express their gratitude for the men who worked tirelessly to present them with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness through a celebration of food, fun and family. (Not that we could really limit our appreciation to one day a year, but we do our best.) With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, people across the country are preparing for some of the wildest celebrations of the year. Even in our nation's troubling times, we deserve to properly observe this honorable day of independence, with just a few things that are a holiday must.


No Fourth of July celebration would be complete without some classic barbecue style foods. We Americans are known for enjoying our food in an organized fashion; specifically eating contests. I mean, would you really want to eat all of your favorite foods in any way other than stuffing your face so quickly that you don't even get to taste them? A true Fourth of July cookout celebration should always include meat, whether it be hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, ribs, pulled pork, or the most American meat of all: bacon. The meal should also include traditional patriotic sides, such as beans, coleslaw, Lays potato chips, corn on the cob, watermelon and potato salad. Independence Day cookouts would be nothing without some beverages- how could we forget the iced tea and fresh squeezed lemonade (and maybe just one ice cold beer) and of course, a red, white, and blue themed dessert.


It is also true that the Fourth of July celebration just wouldn't be the same without some classic activities. Every celebratory American party comes equipped with the obligation to partake in at least one (if not all) of the following events: Attend a parade- go ahead, sit on the sidewalk between thousands of other screaming, sweaty individuals, equally as excited about the holiday. Go see fireworks- this is one of the only times that it is socially acceptable to be face-to-face with a group of people and not speak a single word to any of them. Display an American flag- if you don't do it, did you actually celebrate?? Admire bald eagles- no explanation necessary.


This holiday weekend, it is clear that Americans do not need any more reason to celebrate how far our nation has come. Set backs aside, the American people have a lot to be proud of and so much more to be thankful for. Grab your family and friends and get ready to party. Break out the grill, the coolers, the glow sticks and the sparklers and spread the cheer in your own way. This holiday celebration is one that will be executed perfectly, no matter how you do it, so show off your stars and stripes and God bless 'Merica.