So Tuesday I listed twenty-six things I liked about Canada in honor of their independence day. Today is July 4, and it is now our turn. So to all my Canadian friends, here are twenty-six things that you may or may not know about your fine neighbors to the south:
A is for Apple Pie. You don't really get anymore quintessentially American than this. There's a reason the phrase goes, "as American as apple pie."
B is for Baseball, our national pasttime.
C is for Chevrolet. It's also for the Civil War, because precious little did more to help define us as a nation.
D is for Delaware, the oldest state in the union.
E is for Everyone who has helped make this country great.
F is for Franklin. Besides writing Poor Richard, inventing central heating and bifocals, and figuring out that lightning and electricity are related, Ben also founded the first lending library in the nation.
G is for Gettysburg. 'Nuff said.
H is for Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. Because that's what we all eat today.
I is for the Imperial System. Why we don't use the Metric system like everyone else in the world, I have no idea, but it doesn't look like we're going to change anytime soon, so for now, I'm reveling in being different.
J is for Jefferson. That all men are created equal and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness stuff? That's pretty cool. But founding the Library of Congress? That totally rocks.
K is for Key. The "Star Spangled Banner" is a devil to sing, but kudos to the guy who wrote the lyrics. K is also for King, because MLK, Jr really was a great man.
L is for Lion Brand. I don't actually use their yarn a whole lot, but they have lots of neat patterns (and they're all free). L is also for Lincoln, who was arguably the greatest leader our country has ever had.
M is for Memorial Day, the day we remember all our fallen heroes of past wars. It was first celebrated back in the late 1860's (called Decoration Day then) to commemorate all the men and boys who had been killed in the Civil War. It's been celebrated every year since then. (So to all my Canadian friends who gave me flack about the way Nov 11 is or is not celebrated down here, we aren't being rude, disrespectful, blase, or apathetic toward our fallen soldiers. Memorial Day had been celebrated for 50 years prior to the end of WWI.)
N is for Native Americans. Thank you for making this country so great before it was stolen from you.
O is for the Oregon Trail, and all the people who traveled it.
P is for Patriotism. We got a lot of it. And that's a good thing, because a country is only as good as the people who love and defend it (note, I said country, not its leaders).
Q is for Quakers, who not only helped to settle the land, but also help to remind us that war is never the answer.
R is for Railroads, who helped to connect the land in ways never thought of before. R is also for Religious Freedom, the reason why many of the people who settled here came in the first place.
S is for States Rights. I will admit that these have gotten us into trouble in the past (Note C,G, and L), but when it comes right down to it, I personally think it's great that the different states have so much autonomy.
T is for Twain. Because it just wouldn't be a list about the US without at least one reference to our favorite writer. Please go read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer if you haven't already.
U is for Underage Drinking, which contrary to what many of my Canadian friends think, is a REALLY BIG DEAL here. We don't care what the drinking age is in other places. Here, it's 21 or bust.
V is for Virginia. Besides being where I happen to live, it's also the name of the first person of European descent known to be born in the US. It was also the home of several US presidents, where the capital of the Confederacy was, and where the last major battle in the Revolutionary War took place.
W is for Washington. Again, 'nuff said.
X is for EXpats. Whether we like to think of ourselves like this or not, the truth of it all is that the majority of Americans are, or are direct descendants of people who came here from other place.
Y is for Yankee Doodle. Only Americans can take a song that started out as an insult and turn it into part of our national identity.
Z is for Zee. Because contrary to many parts in the English-speaking world, that's how we pronounce the last letter of the alphabet.
Happy Fourth to all my American friends. Have fun and enjoy the fireworks.