Fourth of July Meaning and Traditions Celebrated
ANCHORAGE - The food, the flags, the festivities… thousands of Alaskans gathered downtown Wednesday to celebrate the Fourth of July.
We definitely weren't sweltering in the hot sun like many of a fellow Americans in Lower 48 states, but Alaska’s weather didn't stop families and groups of friends coming together here at the Park Strip.
For children, it's a day to play, and many on the Anchorage Park Strip know why they came.
If they are unsure of the meaning, there were plenty of people around to help explain.
One of the nation's first flags was also on display.
There are a few facts that Alaskans weren't so sure about.
Like what year did congress make July 4 a federal holiday?
It was 1870.
And did you know that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the turkey the national bird and symbol?
"Fortunately the bald eagle won that battle and Benjamin Franklin was voted down. Fortunately, because like I said, I'd be standing here with a wild turkey on my arm, which just seems wrong," Terri Johnson of the Bird Treatment and Learning Center said.
So what is the most popular food to eat on the Fourth of July?
Actually, in the late 1700s and into the 1800s, turtle soup was a popular meal choice for the Fourth of July.
"Turtle soup? What do you think of that? Turtle soup is good. Have you tried it? I've had turtle soup. I have. So should we bring it back in? No, hot dogs are better," said Tom Burton.
Even if turtles aren't your thing, or you'd prefer the national symbol to be a turkey, one thing keeps us all on the same page, and will keep us on the same page into the future – freedom.
According to the U.S. Census, in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, there were 2.5 million people in the country, today, we are just shy of 314 million people.