Tag Archives: history

The Pompano Beach Historical Society Opens its 2012-2013 Season

This year, the Pompano Beach Historical Society expanded its traditional “season opener” potluck to a grand afternoon of history, culture, food and community.  The Kester Cottages were open, the food was (as usual) delicious, and the company was terrific.  Enjoy, and be sure to mark your calendars for this year’s programs!

 

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Celebrating the Fourth of July: A History Lesson, and a Patriotic Potato Salad

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By Joseph Yacino

Before writing the article, I was under the impression (as many of you probably are) that that the Fourth of July is a national holiday.  In the United States, there is no such thing as a national holiday; a national holiday would be a holiday that is observed in all fifty states. There is much conflicting information and truthfully, I am still confused. The President and Congress can only legally establish an “official” holiday for its “federal” employees and the District of Columbia.

Independence Day is a Federal Holiday.  Do we not just take for granted it always was? We just accept it for what it is without knowing how it came about. What is surprising is how much federal legislation was passed to get the Fourth of July recognized as a federal holiday.

1870 Senator Hannibal Hamlin introduced a Senate Bill titled “Legal Holidays in the District”. This bill was designed to establish the Fourth of July as a holiday for federal employees and the District of Columbia, but it was not to be a paid holiday.

1938 “ The Fourth of July was legislated as a federal holiday with pay for federal employees by a joint resolution of Congress. It was not until 1941 when Robert Ramspeck, Chairman of the Committee on the Civil Service of the House of Representatives, pointed out to Congress that the legislation passed in 1938 failed to specify that government employees of the District of Columbia would have the day off with pay. The“Holiday Leave for Per Diem Employees of the District of Columbia” amendment was added to the law.

1959  Congress passed an act that stated if the Fourth of July holiday occurred on a Saturday that the day before the holiday would be considered the public holiday and employees of the federal government and the District of Columbia were to get the preceding day off with pay.

Notice these bills included only Federal and government employees of the District of Columbia, not other state or local government employees.

In Washington, DC, the National Independence Day Parade takes place annually on July 4th at 11:45 am, on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Street, before a street audience of hundreds of thousands of spectators. The Parade consists of invited bands, fife and drum corps, floats, military and specialty units, giant balloons, equestrians, drill teams, VIPs, national dignitaries, and celebrity participants. It is a patriotic, flag-waving, red white and blue celebration of America’s birthday!

The Parade is co-hosted by the National Park Service and produced by Diversified Events, which is under contract to the National Park Service.

Participating bands are invited based on recommendations from each state’s Governor’s office. Other times these recommendations come from a state’s Music Educators office or other music education organizations at the Governor’s request. The goal is to have at least one band from each of the 50 states.

That evening, parade participants are all part of the audience at the Capitol Building celebration, featuring the National Symphony Orchestra and one of the country’s largest fireworks displays.

Fireworks seem to be the last vestige of celebration in cities and town across the nation, including in our fair burg of Pompano Beach.  Family gatherings, boating trips, and cookouts are a tradition, but the real meaning seems to have fallen away.  It is our duty to teach, to remember what and why we are gathering.  We need to contact our city and town leaders to bring the meaning of the celebration back to July 4th.  In these times of economic worry, it can be as simple as a show thanks with a “town cookout” before the fireworks. The cook out could be a byof (bring your own food).  Sometimes traditions from the past are best not to be forgotten.

Try this “margarita” potato salad at your next cookout

Serves 4

4 medium sized potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large celery rib, diced
½ cup/118ml red pepper, diced
¼ cup/59ml red onion, diced
2 tbsp/30ml tequila
juice of 2 limes
zest of one lime
2 tbsp/30ml white vinegar
½ cup/125ml olive oil
½ tsp/2ml sea salt
¼ tsp/1ml black pepper
salt for boiling potatoes

Place potatoes in a large sauce pan.  Fill with water and swish around; drain, rinse, repeat to remove the excess starch.  Fill the pan at least 2 finger lengths with water above the rinsed potatoes. Place the potatoes over high heat.  Pour enough salt to make the water taste of the ocean. Bring the potatoes to a boil.  Remove from heat and let sit covered for 8-10 minutes or until a knife easily pierces the potato.  While potatoes are sitting, combine all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl except the zest.  Whisk to combine.  When potatoes are tender, drain well.  Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss gently to combine. Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.  Serve in a large bowl with the zest sprinkled for garnish.