Berger’s Burg: America celebrates its fight for freedom, birthday

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America: A land where we can say what we are thinking without thinking.

True patriotism should make the heart beat faster and the tongue wag slower

Some people wave the American flag but waive what it stands for.

If America is filled with amber waves of grain, how come cereal costs so much?

Tell me, what country’s birthday is celebrated each year with red, white and blue displayed everywhere from Bayside to Jamaica, Little Neck to Laurelton and Maine to California? A hint: The celebration falls on a weekend when all the cars in New York City are stuck end to end on the Long Island Expressway.

No, it is not the celebration of my birthday. And it is not an hour after a rock concert at the Westbury Music Fair. It is merely the greatest American holiday in existence and it is a legal holiday in every state in the United States. Give up? It is our “Fourth of July” observance.

Congratulations, USA! On Friday, you will be 227 years old. I wonder if President Bush can find a birthday cake large enough to accommodate 227 candles and, my goodness, does George W. have the lung power to blow out all the candles with one mighty breath? Hmm, maybe Secretary Rumsfeld will help him?

On this memorable day commemorating the birth of our nation, Americans wish their Uncle Sam a very happy birthday. What, you say, Andy Rooney is older? No, you are incorrect. I checked Andy’s birth certificate and our Uncle Sammy beats his nephew, Andy, by “Sixty Minutes.”

To give you an historical perspective of the origin of the “Fourth,” we must go back to 1607 when the British settlers landed in Jamestown, Va. Little did they know that many other peoples from many other lands would ultimately follow them to the Land of the Shopping Mall, the SUV and the Queens TimesLedger newspapers.

Eventually, with the influx of new “Americans,” 13 separate colonies arose, but they were ruled by the king of England. As time went on, the colonists wanted a greater voice in their affairs. They did not want to pay the heavy taxes levied by “Mad” King George, not unlike the New York City taxes of today, I might add. The heavy taxation spelled trouble for George.

Finally, on April 19, 1775, a battle between American patriots and British soldiers broke out. At first, it appeared to be a mismatch between the two factions (such as a one-on-one football game between the Giants’ Tiki Barber and me), and it would be over lickety-split. Ha, Ha, we fooled them. It wasn’t. At the outset, the Americans simply fought to defend their rights. But before long they wanted full independence and they battled on and on and on, like the Eveready Bunny on the hip-hop trail. And thus the Revolutionary War evolved.

On July 2, 1776, a Resolution of Independence was adopted. Two days later on July 4, a revised resolution was approved and, on Aug. 2, the finalized Declaration was signed. Some purists contend that it would be more fitting to have the national holiday on July 2, which marked the day when the Revolution for Independence was first declared and adopted. It was, they argue, the first legal act leading to independence from the British crown and a very vital and momentous undertaking.

However, don’t write off July 4, 1776 as unimportant. It was on that date that the American leaders approved a very important paper — the Declaration of Independence. It graphically spelled out that the people had the right to be free. And the 13 colonies had united to fight the British for that freedom.

The war lasted eight years (longer than most of our future wars). Finally in 1783 peace came. The scrappy colonists had won their freedom. So, forever more, on every Fourth of July, this fight for freedom will be remembered and celebrated. On this proud occasion, many Americans will march, many will watch them march, many will barbecue (Americans never met a chicken they didn’t like), many will shop, and many will simply relax. All will spend a most pleasurable day.

During this birthday salute to America, we should remember the sacrifices made by our early American brethren that allow us to reap the fruits of freedom today. So, go out and march, barbecue, shop or simply relax. Just be thankful that you live in America. Happy birthday, America!

Reach columnist Alex Berger by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 140.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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