I know America's Independence Day is much more than a good excuse to have a barbecue, so when I asked how you celebrated the Fourth of July I was prepared to hear about a variety of celebrations. And my fellow Americans, I'd say we are making our forefathers proud in how we honor our country.
Read on to learn how your friends and neighbors feel about what the Fourth means to them:
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'I always think of our Grandpa Kerr on Fourth of July because he fought for our freedom in World War II in the Battle of Palelu.
'His stories of surviving that battle made me cringe.
'I loved riding around (with him) in the Fourth of July parade in Neskowin in my vintage golf cart. Folks just would stand and cheer when we would slowly drive by ... I cried every time. He so deserved those standing ovations.
'The handmade sign on the front I always very ceremoniously put it there … always pausing to read it … 'FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!!!' .... and it isn't … ask Grandpa.'
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'I grew up in Washington, D.C., and I love the Fourth of July. As a family, we went to the main mall area in D.C., had a picnic, had a view of the monument and watched the fireworks as a family. It represents family and unity of our great nation to me. We always had Indian food on the lawn so it makes me also think of my mom very much.'
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'The loud, booming explosions of Fourth of July fireworks bring to my mind the terror of war. I think of the brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence, voluntarily identifying themselves as enemies of the king, fully knowing the horrors to come as a result.
'I appreciate the high cost of freedom when I watch and hear the fireworks.'
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'We are so lucky to live in this great country and I must say, America never looks as pretty as it does on the Fourth of July - especially in Lake Oswego. Each year I gather with friends and my fiancee's family at their house on the canal and celebrate with barbecue fare - and plenty of pie.
'When the sun starts to set we jump in the boat and head out onto the main lake to watch the fireworks the city of Lake Oswego puts on. Listening to the patriotic music - and honking from the gathered boats - is really fun.
'Occasionally we'll even spot some good entertainment when someone's deck catches on fire from a small firework. Then the boats really honk - oh, only in America.'
West Linn Tidings Editor
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'Fourth of July means camping … and the sun.
S'mores but instead of Hershey bars we use Reese's Peanut Butter Cups …
Marshmallows, graham crackers and Reese's … yum.'
West Linn Tidings
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'When I think of the Fourth of July I think of potato chips, George Washington crossing the Delaware, Little League Baseball, hamburgers and hotdogs, watermelon, the painting with the patriotic trio, Richard Nixon giving the V sign, Dizzy Dean broadcasting a game, my dad climbing up on the roof to watch the fireworks, potato salad, charcoal grills.
'Did I mention potato chips?'
Cliff Newell Review/Tidings reporter
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'The Fourth of July is my oldest son's birthday so it is a joyful celebration in our family. He has a big party at his house every year so we celebrate not only him but our good fortune to live in this country.
'My favorite part of the day is having a son who does all of the cooking for his birthday!'
Review/Tidings circulation manager
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'For us the Fourth of July is always about the children. We make sure to include some little ones and love to watch them experience the wonder of the fireworks and the excitement of the celebration of our American heritage.
'No matter how young they are I think the memories become cemented deep inside and it develops a sense of patriotism that will never depart from them. No burger recipes, but a favorite of ours is hand-cranked ice cream with the kids taking turns on the crank and adding salt and ice as they go along.
Happy and safe 4th to you and yours!'
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'The Fourth of July is a time of recognizing our strength as a country; remembering what we can accomplish when we put aside our differences, and that friends and family are the foundation of that strength.
'Every Fourth of July meal that I can remember features barbeque, whether it's burgers or hot dogs or ribs.'
Lanette Justice Bernards
Lake Oswego Review / SWCC advertising sales
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'Tradition, history and feelings of nostalgia all get stirred up in a healthy patriotic mix for our family every Fourth of July. It's a time for our friends and relatives to get together and take in many of the old-fashioned aspects of the day like the pancake breakfast, parade and fireworks. It's also a time to focus on family and memories and reconnect with what makes our country so great. Happy Fourth everybody!'
Lake Oswego Review
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"Chuck Mansfield, more than anything, loves the Sousa marches, especially our National March, 'Stars and Stripes Forever.' After putting up the flag first thing in the morning, he usually starts that day off with a few (loud) rousing marches to get us in the mood.
'My favorite Fourth of July memory is Chuck, me, our three girls spending the day in colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, attending service at Bruton Parish (formed in 1674) and observing the Fife and Drums parade. We got to 'meet' famous 18th Century revolutionaries who actually fought to make our country independent and framed American history.'
Review / Tidings staff reporter
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'Fourth of July means good friends and an expanding family at the beach, making music, having fun, putting together a parade entry or a sandcastle.
'My favorite burgers are Basque Burgers, adapted from a 1960s 'McCalls Magazine' feature on hamburgers:
1 eggplant cut in 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 green pepper, sliced
1 onion sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce with tomato bits
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp A1 steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
2-21/2 lb ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp A1 steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
Garlic french bread
For the sauce, heat oil, saute eggplant, pepper, onion and garlic until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, steak sauce, salt, pepper, thyme and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer for 30 min. (Can be made ahead.)
For the hamburgers, combine ground beef, onion, steak sauce and salt. Mix lightly. Shape into 6-8 hamburgers about 1-inch thick.
Broil hamburgers 4 inches from heat for 3-4 minutes a side for rare (or more to taste). Place each on a plate and top with eggplant sauce. Add two pieces of garlic bread.
If you like, you can serve these hamburgers on sour dough rolls, topping the meat with the sauce.
Garlic Bread can be purchased or made by combining 1/4 cup soft butter, 1 clove crushed garlic, 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp pepper and dash of cayenne pepper. Cut a long french loaf in half lengthwise and spread with butter mix. Place in 450 degree oven for 10 min or until butter is melted and bread is hot and toasted. Cut in 4-inch pieces.'
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'As a child, I spent many of my summers in Massa-chusetts and Connecticut, staying primarily with my grandparents who spent a good amount of time telling me about our family's history in America. Naturally, I didn't appreciate the lengthy dinner table discussions as much at the time, but I did enjoy our frequent trips into Boston to see the many sites that played a significant role in the Revolutionary period, and to Salem and Marblehead to visit relatives, many of whom were still living in the homes our family had occupied since the early 1700s.
'And of course, as I've grown older, that early indoctrination has served as the foundation for a keen interest in our geneological record, and in the Revolutionary War era.
'Many Americans can trace their roots to the journey of the Mayflower in 1620 - as can I. I am fortunate to have an extensive set of family records - volumes of documents that show a clear connection to many who arrived here in the early 1600s - primarily from England, and whose descendants served this country during the Revolutionary War - the most famous of which are Jonathan Trumbull, the first governor of Connecticut during the Colonial period, and his son, John, the painter, cartographer and spy. He served as George Washington's aide de camp. At the age of just 19 was called upon by Washington to create a series of maps and drawings showing the location of the British in and around Boston, at one point crawling through long grass nearly to enemy lines at the neck of Boston Harbor to count troops and assess their readiness. Washington relied heavily on this information, as he was unfamiliar with Boston, having only visited briefly, 20 years earlier.
'For me, the Fourth of July is a day of personal remembrance and family recollections. It's also a time to honor generations of Americans who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for an ideal. There are so many amazing American stories, most of which are more spectacular and significant than my own. However, I am grateful and proud to know that we Trumbulls were willing participants in the formation of this great country.'
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'Fireworks and barbeques are the responses my boys gave me when I asked them what the Fourth of July means to them. There is no place like Lake Oswego on the Fourth of July - Lion's Club pancake breakfast at George Rogers Park, the parade down A Avenue, barbeques with neighbors, friends and family topped off with fireworks on the lake. Perfect!
My favorite burger is topped with barbeque sauce, then French's Fried Onions then a slice of chedder cheese all while still on the grill so it all melts together. Served with ketchup, mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles. We also love the Lipton's Onion Soup Mix burgers.'
Lake Oswego City Councilor
Thanks to you all for sharing your traditions. We are indeed lucky to live in our great country.
Wishing you a Star Spangled Fourth of July! Now, for the recipe:
Always served after the parade with gravy
n Five cups self-rising flour (this is a Southern staple )
n About two cups buttermilk with about 3/4 cup of oil stirred into that
Put flour in big bowl. Make a hole and pour in liquid and barely stir.
Flour a board, put flour mixture on the board and barely work it together. Pat it down and cut with a biscuit cutter or whatever.
Put a little oil in black cast-iron skillet if you have one, squishing the biscuits close together.
Bake in 375 degrees oven until done, about 20 minutes.
Smear butter on top and eat while hot.
Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811, ext. 101 or by email at [email protected]