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16:18 PM

Celebrating Independence Day

GSU Newsroom is off this week for the holiday and will return next week, but we wanted to take a moment to share some patriotic thoughts with the community. With students, faculty, and staff enjoying summer adventures, we offer you this: a few words about everyone's favorite grill food—the hot dog.

According to the NHDSCthe National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, this actually exists)Americans are expected to consume approximately 150 million hot dogs on the 4th of July. Let's write that out in numbers: 150,000,000. Seven zeroes. Also according to NHDSC statistics, that's enough hot dogs to make a trail of them from Washington, DC to Los Angelesfive times. That's over 13,000 miles of hot dog road. Apologies to any vegetarians who are reading.

There's no doubt, Americans love the things.  We love them on buns, cut up in beans, charred over a bonfire, and different regions of the country have unique ways of serving them. In Kansas City, they come covered in 'kraut. Coney Island gives them to us with chili, and here in Chicago we have our own particular recipe for enjoyment: one all beef dog on a poppy seed bun, layered with raw onions, tomato slices, green relish, yellow mustard, a pickle spear, and a generous sprinkle of celery salt. Sport peppers, although delicious, are optional.

Stripped of all garnishes, what remains is the humble dog. Debate surrounds its origins, from who actually invented the hot dog to how it got its name. The only point lacking contention is its tasteit's good.

In the summer of 1776, thirteen colonies—Delaware, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island—sent representatives to Philadelphia to address the political landscape of an emerging nation. The colonies had already been at war with England for a year, the Boston Tea Party was nearly three years in the past, and even then, no unanimous decision on what to do could be made. Like cantankerous food historians debating which German town cooked up the first hot dog, the delegates argued amongst themselves. But eventually a consensus was reached, and on July 4, 1776, the Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence.

This is what we celebrate on Independence Day. On that day, we don't commemorate the birth of a nation or the end of a war; those things took longer to come (the American Revolution would rage on for seven more years after the Declaration's inception).  July 4, 1776 is the day when a group of quarrelsome men with different ideas but common goals stood up and agreed to these words: 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

And then they got down to the work of securing them. On this 4th of July, when you sit down to eat your hot dogs, remember the men who stood up.

Happy Independence Day to our entire community from GSU News. May your holiday be safe and filled with fun.