Independence Day 2011

July 4, 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

We celebrate the 235th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of American democracy.

The First Family is celebrating the Fourth of July by hosting more than 1,200 military heroes and their families for a barbeque, a USO show featuring Train and Amos Lee, and an extraordinary view of national capital fireworks from the South Lawn. You can check it all out on, or watch from anywhere with our mobile apps.

Here’s the full July 4th live stream schedule:

  • 6:30 PM EDT: President Obama delivers remarks from the South Lawn
  • 8:15 PM EDT: USO show featuring Grammy Award-winning band Train and celebrated singer/songwriter Amos Lee
  • 9:10 PM EDT: National Capitol fireworks display

American Revolutionary War

Happy July 4th America


55 thoughts on “Independence Day 2011

  1. WH

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

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    10:30 AM
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks at the National Education Association’s 149th Annual Meeting.

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  2. independence-day-flag-declaration

    Happy Independence Day America!

    Independence Day honors the birthday of the United States of America and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It’s a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag.

    * Declaration of Independence
    * Fun Facts About July 4
    * Today in History – July 4
    * U.S. Flag History and Facts
    * Historical Documents

    * Fireworks Safety, Recalls, and Regulations
    * Firework Fact Sheet and State Laws


      “ARMED FORCES SALUTE” Penn Yan Community Chorus

      • Joining Forces

        Honoring Their Service with Ours

        Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 01, 2011

        This Independence Day, you can join First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden in supporting our troops, military families, and veterans by getting involved with Joining Forces.

        Here’s a few things you can do right now:

        * Operation Honor Card. You can get involved right now through Operation Honor Card – an effort to encourage Americans to support our military families by participating in service projects to serve those who serve us. At, you can pledge hours of community service, find service projects in your area, and track your progress.

        * Send a Message of Thanks. A simple act of kindness can mean so much. Say thanks to a military family today.

        * Share Your Story of Support. How are you serving our nation’s military families? Tell us your story.

        Stay Connected. There are plenty of ways to stay connected with Joining Forces. You can sign up for email updates, like Joining Forces on Facebook, or follow @JoiningForces on Twitter.

      • Panetta 4th of July Message

        From: DODvClips | ‪Jul 1, 2011

        Incoming Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta delivers a special 4th of July message to the troops.

        • Panetta Makes Fourth of July Calls to Deployed Service Members

          7/4/11 By Cheryl Pellerin – American Forces Press Service

          WASHINGTON, July 4, 2011 – Six forward-deployed U.S. service members began their Fourth of July morning with telephone calls from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.

          Panetta, sworn in as the nation’s 23rd secretary of defense on Friday, reached out late Sunday evening to convey his thanks and support for their service, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Doug Wilson said today.

          The defense secretary spoke by phone with service members deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Bahrain, Wilson said.

          “They represent America’s men and women in uniform who are away from their families on this July 4 weekend,” Wilson added, noting that they “come from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Army National Guard.”

          Panetta told each service member how proud he was of their service and emphasized to each his commitment to fight for them and their families as they are fighting for their country, Wilson said.

          “He told each that he looks forward to meeting them during his travels as secretary,” Wilson added.

          The names, home towns and locations where they are aserving are as follows:

          U.S. Army Spc. Darwin Siquig is serving in Afghanistan and is from Kahuku, Hawaii.

          U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shain Frazier Jr. is serving in Afghanistan and is from San Diego, Calif.

          U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Frankie Lizcano is serving in Afghanistan and is from San Antonio, Texas.

          U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jay D’Amico is serving in Afghanistan. He is originally from Joliet, Ill., and now lives in Surprise, Ariz.

          U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Frawley is serving in Bahrain. He is originally from Augusta, Ga., and he and his family now live in Newport, N.C.

          Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Kelly Ann Pels is serving in Iraq. She is from Clermont County, Ohio.

      • Chairman’s Corner: Independence Day 2011

        JULY 1, 2011 AT by JIAN DELEON –

        This Independence Day we celebrate our Nation’s 235th birthday. As we enjoy all the traditions and pleasures this singularly American holiday has to offer, I also ask that we take a moment to remember those who have done so much to secure and safeguard our independence throughout our history.

        Today, more than 200,000 Americans in uniform are deployed in harm’s way, protecting us. Their steadfast service reminds us that defending our Nation is not a “sometimes” thing, but a pursuit that requires persistent and disciplined commitment each day, everyday. I remain profoundly grateful for the gifts of their service in far off, distant places and the sacrifice of the families who faithfully wait for their return.

        During this decade of war, we have been reminded of another way we keep America’s promise to those who protect it – the care and support of our wounded warriors, their families, and the families of our fallen and missing in action. For many, their healing from wounds, both seen and unseen, will last a lifetime, and so must our commitment to them.

        President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who shepherded our Nation through the Great Depression and World War Two, once said, “In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.” Today, we honor everything that Americans have done to earn and achieve that freedom.

        The Joint Chiefs of Staff, their families, and Deborah and I wish every citizen a happy and safe Fourth of July. Happy Birthday America!

      • Message for Independence Day

        Hillary Rodham Clinton – Secretary of State
        Washington, DC

        July 1, 2011

        Hello everyone and happy Independence Day.

        At home, the Fourth of July means fireworks, barbeques, family and friends. But for all of you – Americans living and working overseas – this day takes on a whole new meaning. It’s an opportunity to share our culture and our spirit, to open our doors and welcome new friends and partners. I want to thank you for representing the American people so well, on this and every other day.

        Today is a time to celebrate the birth of our nation and the values that have sustained us for 235 years – equality, opportunity and the rights enshrined in our founding documents.

        This year, we have been reminded again that these are not just American values, they are truly universal values. And as people across North Africa, the Middle East and around the world risk their lives to claim these universal human rights and freedoms, Americans are proud to stand with them. We are united by our common hopes and aspirations for a better world.

        So have a wonderful celebration.

    • ASPCA Fourth of July Safety Tips

      Dog wearing star-spangled outfit in front of flag
      For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

      * Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them
      * Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals
      * Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach
      * Keep your pets on their normal diet
      * Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it
      * Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach
      * Never use fireworks around pets
      * Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home; preferably inside of the house

      For more:

  3. Sunday talk show tipsheet



    This Sunday television talk shows feature special Fourth of July weekend editions on the U.S. Constitution, deadlock in Washington and the state of the American Dream.

    On ABC, “This Week” examines the nation’s founding document with ABC News analyst George Will; Georgetown Professor Michael Eric Dyson; Harvard Professor Jill Lepore; and Time magazine Editor-in-Chief Richard Stengel. The show also focuses on immigration with former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington Post reporter and author of a recent article detailing his experience as an undocumented immigrant.

    CBS’s “Face the Nation” looks outside the Beltway for answers to the question “What’s wrong with Washington?” with Republican Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin; Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; and Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, a Democrat.

    CNN’s “State of the Union” talks national security with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and assesses the pursuit of the American Dream with a panel of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan; Suze Orman, the popular personal finance expert; Russell Simmons, musical entrepreneur and founder of Def Jam Recordings; and Steve Case, the former AOL chairman and CEO.
    And Bloomberg TV’s “Political Capital” hosts former President Bill Clinton and his former White House aide, Rahm Emanuel, now the mayor of Chicago.

    For the entire article:

  4. White House says stimulus boosted employment by as many as 3.6M jobs

    7/01/11 By Alicia M. Cohn – TheHill

    A White House report released Friday said the 2009 stimulus bill raised GDP by as much as 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

    The report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the stimulus added 2.3 to 3.2 percent to gross domestic product in the first quarter relative to what it otherwise would have been.

    The stimulus package also increased employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by between 2.4 and 3.6 million jobs, the report said.

    Obama and Republicans have butted heads over the effectiveness of the stimulus, which was estimated to cost $787 billion when enacted.

    Republicans, pointing to the latest report that unemployment rose again to 9.1 percent in May, claim it was a waste of money that did nothing to slow the recession. Obama maintains that the economy would be in worse shape without the stimulus.

    The report credits the stimulus with positively changing “the trajectory of the economy” starting in the third quarter of 2009 and continuing through the first quarter of 2011.

  5. Future of three trade deals in jeopardy as Republicans balk after agreement

    7/02/11 By Vicki Needham – TheHill

    The fate of three pending trade deals is uncertain as congressional Democrats and Republicans remain at loggerheads over how to proceed.

    Despite an agreement between the White House and congressional negotiators earlier in the week designed to smooth the path, rhetorical fireworks erupted around the Capitol as Senate Republicans opted to boycott the Senate Finance Committee’s mock markup, once again stalling the deals.

    GOP lawmakers are opposing the decision to include Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which helps retrain workers displaced by foreign trade, as part of the South Korean deal, insisting, instead, that TAA be considered separately.
    U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told The Associated Press on Friday that he was “dumbfounded” and “shell-shocked” following the boycott.

    “The Republicans for the most part said, ‘You get these agreements here, we’ll pass them tomorrow, send them up,’ ” he said.

    For most of the year, Senate and House Republicans have pressed the administration to send the pacts with Korea, Colombia and Panama up to Capitol Hill for approval as final details were worked out by the White House, saying the delay was costing jobs, billions for farmers and manufacturers and reducing U.S. market share as other nations ink trade deals.

    For the entire article:

  6. Extreme Heat Are You Ready?

    Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.

    Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children, and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.

    Conditions that can induce heat-related illnesses include stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. Consequently, people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than those living in rural areas. Also, asphalt and concrete store heat longer and gradually release heat at night, which can produce higher nighttime temperatures known as the “urban heat island effect.”

    Take Protective Measures
    Before Extreme Heat
    To prepare for extreme heat, you should:

    * Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
    * Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
    * Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
    * Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
    * Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
    * Keep storm windows up all year.

    During a Heat Emergency
    The following are guidelines for what you should do if the weather is extremely hot:

    * Stay indoors as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun.
    * Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine if air conditioning is not available.
    * Consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, and other community facilities. Circulating air can cool the body by increasing the perspiration rate of evaporation.
    * Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
    * Drink plenty of water. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease; are on fluid-restricted diets; or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a doctor before increasing liquid intake.
    * Limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
    * Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
    * Protect face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
    * Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
    * Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
    Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat, and take frequent breaks.
    First Aid for Heat-Induced Illnesses

    Extreme heat brings with it the possibility of heat-induced illnesses. The table lists these illnesses, their symptoms, and the first aid treatment.

    For the entire article:

    • Good morning CR…
      Hope you have a nice 4th of July weekend with your family!
      Expect I won’t stay cool here in AZ today…!
      (unless inside with A?C on…:)

  7. Moneygall celebrates 4th of July
    Memory of tiny town’s day in the sun still shines

    7/3/11 By DARA KELLY ,

    It’s just been six weeks since President Barack Obama and his wife visited his ancestral home in the sleepy hamlet of Moneygall in County Offaly, but the memory still burns bright for the locals.

    This weekend the tiny Irish village is hosting a four day festival to celebrate American Independence Day on Monday, July 4.

    Although they won’t receive a return visit by Barack and Michelle Obama, Barack Obama impersonator Aaron Heffernan is due to arrive by helicopter.

    The July 4th celebrations are the brainchild of the Moneygall Development Association, who want to keep the spotlight on the village to improve its economic profile.

    “The idea is if the organizing committee can bring in more business it keeps Moneygall alive,” Barack Obama’s eighth cousin Henry Healy told the Offaly Independent. “That’s what it’s all about.”

    “Everything is falling into place. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to replicate the President but we’ll try and keep the association alive.”

    • Michelle Obama speaks about her deep connection to Moneygall after visit

      The small Offaly town, the President’s ancestral home, touched the heart of the First Lady

      6/28/11 By CATHY HAYES ,

      The United States First Lady, Michelle Obama, spoke of her “surprise” at the connection she felt to the Offaly town of Moneygall during her visit in May. Speaking at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, she admitted that as well as having a kinship with Africa she also feels a connection with Ireland.

      She said “I absolutely felt that connection in Moneygall [and was] a little more surprised by it…The love, the warmth, the connection, the excitement. That was family, too. And that’s what I want my kids to understand – that your family is Granny in Kisumu, but it’s also your cousin in Moneygall. That is your history.”

      The small town of Moneygall welcomed President Barack Obama and his wife on May 23 with thousands lining the street. The couple visited Ollie Hayes’ pub, met with some of the President’s cousins including Henry Healy and, of course, sampled some Guinness.

      For the entire article:

  8. Latest developments in Arab world’s unrest

    7/3/11 AP – 58 mins ago

    Turkey’s foreign minister recognizes Libya’s rebel leaders as the country’s legitimate representatives and promises them an additional $200 million in aid during a visit to an opposition stronghold in eastern Libya. Turkey’s show of support for the rebels marks a further policy shift. Initially, NATO member Turkey balked at the idea of military action against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

    Syrian forces carry out arrests in the western city of Hama, an opposition stronghold. The arrests come two days after some 300,000 protesters gathered in the city in the largest demonstration yet in a three-month-old anti-government uprising.

    Around 1,000 pro-democracy demonstrators march through the capital to protest a new constitution that they say fails to deliver reforms. It is the first major protest since Moroccans voted Friday to approve the constitution in a referendum.

    Bahrain’s highest criminal court adjourns the trial of three former editors for the main opposition newspaper accused of unethical coverage of anti-government protests earlier this year in the Gulf kingdom.

  9. US gains WCup quarters with 3-0 rout of Colombia

    7/3/11 By NANCY ARMOUR – AP National Writer

    SINSHEIM, Germany (AP) — Anyone can sign autographs or pose for photos. The U.S. women found a better way to say “thank you” to the American military members who turned their World Cup match into a home game.

    The U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup with a 3-0 rout of Colombia on Saturday, delighting a sellout crowd made up almost entirely of American fans. The team lined up for a military salute after Heather O’Reilly’s opening goal, and Megan Rapinoe grabbed a TV mic and sang “Born in the USA” after she scored.

    “The troops came out to practice the other day, which was a fantastic environment,” said Carli Lloyd, who scored the third goal. “We thought it would be good to salute them. It was fun, something different.”

    The two-time World Cup champions now play Sweden, one of two teams to beat them this year, on Wednesday in Wolfsburg to determine the Group C winner. The Americans and Sweden both have six points, but the U.S. leads the group on goal differential and can claim the top spot with a victory or a tie.

    For the entire article:

  10. Vice President Biden to NEA Members: “Your Fight is Our Children’s Fight”

    RA Delegates also Honor Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear for Standing Strong for Public Schools

    July 03, 3011 By Will Potter –

    The current attacks on teacher’s unions are attacks on students, educators and fundamental American values, Vice President Joe Biden told thousands of cheering educators on Sunday.

    “It is one of the biggest scams in modern American history,” Biden said, referring to the assaults on collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin, Ohio and many other states.

    “We should be listening to you, not lecturing you,” he said later. “We should be embracing you, not pushing you aside. You are not the problem.”

    Biden’s moving address was met with cheers and standing ovations from the nearly 8,000 delegates at the NEA’s Representative Assembly.

    “The middle class needs more leaders like Vice President Biden,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “He knows that the key to economic prosperity for all is a vibrant middle class, and without organized labor, the middle class will not grow and thrive.”

    And we could use more leaders like the governor of Kentucky, one of the many states that has faced sweeping cuts to public education. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear stood strong for Kentucky’s students and schools, and fought to preserve resources for K-12 education.

    Beshear was honored on Sunday with the America’s Greatest Education Governor Award. The annual award recognizes and honors governors who have made major, state-level education strides that improve public schools.

    For the entire article:

    • Vice President Joe Biden Addresses NEA’s 2011 Representative Assembly

      Uploaded by NEAABS on Jul 3, 2011

      Vice President Joe Biden Addresses NEA’s 2011 Representative Assembly
      Chicago Illinois

  11. WH

    Monday, July 4, 2011

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:30 PM
    The First Family attends a Fourth of July celebration; The President delivers remarks
    South Lawn
    Pooled Press

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      July 4, 2011

      6:30 PM EDT
      The President delivers remarks at the White House Fourth of July celebration; The First Family attends

      8:15 PM EDT: USO show featuring Grammy Award-winning band Train and celebrated singer/songwriter Amos Lee

      9:10 PM EDT
      Fourth of July Celebration – Fireworks Display
      The White House



      6:30 PM EDT
      The President delivers remarks at the White House Fourth of July celebration; The First Family attends

      8:15 PM EDT
      USO White House Fourth of July celebration featuring Grammy Award-winning band Train and celebrated singer/songwriter Amos Lee



      6:30 PM EDT
      The President delivers remarks at the White House Fourth of July celebration; The First Family attends

      Middle East Protest

      Al Jazeera – English

  12. Americans Reflect on Meaning of Independence Day
    Savoring freedoms and hoping others worldwide will soon be able to do the same

    7/1/11 Julie Taboh | Washington, D.C. – VOANews

    America’s independence holiday, July 4th, is a chance for Americans to take the day off, have a picnic, go to the beach or take advantage of sales at the shopping mall.

    But for many Americans, it is also a time to reflect on the historic meaning of July 4th. 

Music and barbeque

Street musician Raycurt Johnson treats passersby to patriotic music as they head into downtown Washington on the subway.

    Music, whether it’s played by street musicians or members of the National Symphony Orchestra, has traditionally been part of the annual Fourth of July celebration, along with barbeques and fireworks.

And, for many Americans, the holiday weekend is also a time to think about history and reflect on what it means to be an American.

For some families, that means coming to Washington, D.C., to visit the city’s historic monuments and museums.

John Carothers, from Santa Cruz, California, says the nation’s capital is especially meaningful to him at this time of the year.

“It’s really wonderful to come here and see the bed of the government that we now live within.”

    Reflecting on America’s past

The Carothers family visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where one of the highlights is the almost 200-year-old Star-Spangled Banner. The hand-sewn flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became the U.S. national anthem. 

Seeing it was one of the highlights of the trip for 14-year-old Milena Carothers.

“It was much larger than I thought it would be,” she says. “And it’s amazing how it’s pretty much well-preserved after so long. You can still tell what it is, not much damage to it. Really amazing.” 

The American History Museum expects to welcome more than 100,000 visitors over the holiday weekend.

    For the entire article:

  13. Fourth of July: President Obama Hosts Independence Day BBQ & USO Concert

    JULY 03, 2011

    On Monday, President Obama and the First Family will celebrate the Fourth of July by welcoming about 1,200 military heroes and their families to the South Lawn for an Independence Day barbecue at the White House. The party includes a Salute to the Military USO Concert, and a view of the Capitol fireworks, over the National Mall. Monday also marks Malia Obama’s 13th birthday.

    San Francisco’s Grammy award-winning rock band Train and singer/songwriter Amos Lee of Philadelphia are the featured performers for the concert. President Obama will deliver remarks at 6:30 PM EDT, and his remarks and the concert will be livestreamed at The President’s Own United States Marine Corps Band will also perform. USO marks its 70th anniversary this year.

    Staff and their families from throughout the Administration have also been invited to the annual party.

    President Obama joined his family at the presidential retreat Camp David in Maryland on Friday, and the First Family returns to Washington on Sunday.

  14. Army sergeant finds his passion in baking

    June 28, 2011 By U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Davis, Regional Command East Public Affairs –

    BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Whoever said “never trust a skinny chef” could not have been thinking about military cooks at the time. Meet the 185-pound U.S. Army Sgt. Bill McDonald.

McDonald is a 28 year old Quincy, Ill., native and a baker in the Command Joint Task Force 101 commander’s chow hall. He is especially known for his creative work in making cakes.

    McDonald is currently deployed to Afghanistan. He started making cakes in May; about a month of he arrived to Bagram Airfield.

    “No one really showed me how to make cakes,” McDonald said. “One day, someone told me to make one by reading the directions but, let me tell you, there’s a lot more to it than that.”

    He got his first cooking experience at age 15 when he got a job at a local pizza restaurant. He worked his way up to assistant manager and, since then, has been interested in cooking.

”When I decided to go to college, I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do,” McDonald said. “I knew I liked to cook and since I had a job doing it, I decided to get into culinary arts.” 

McDonald left college early and joined the Army in 2007 for one reason:

    “I wanted to serve my country,” he said.

He came in as a cook and deployed almost as soon as he got to Fort Campbell, Ky.

”I was the chow runner for one of the entry-control points on Bagram,” McDonald said. “I had to prepare food for 200 people four times a day and drive it out to the ECPs. I also had to clean the dishes in between meals, so I was really busy.”

    Now on his second deployment with the 101st to Afghanistan, McDonald says there isn’t much he would change.

    “I work long hours, and I’m away from my wife, but I love my job,” he said. “My sergeant started teaching me little tricks and tips when I started making cakes, and now that’s all I’m focused on, bettering myself.”

    For the entire article:

  15. ARCHIVE:

    The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 4, 1966 and went into effect the following year. Ralph Nader has been credited with the impetus for creating this act, among others.The Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments were signed by President Bill Clinton on October 2, 1996.

  16. Petraeus marks July 4 with troops in Afghanistan

    7/4/11 By DEB RIECHMANN – Associated Press | AP – 2 hrs 9 mins ago

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — A member of the NATO-led international force fighting in Afghanistan went missing in the country’s restive south and a search is under way, the NATO command said Monday.

    The command did not identify the nationality of the missing service member.
    Only one soldier from the NATO-led force is believed in captivity. Bowe Bergdahl, a 25-year-old Army sergeant from Hailey, Idaho, was taken prisoner June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan. He is believed held in Pakistan.

    Also Monday, the outgoing U.S. commander in Afghanistan marked his last Fourth of July in uniform by speaking to American troops during a re-enlistment ceremony in the south of the country.

    Gen. David Petraeus, who was recently confirmed as the next director of the CIA, told the 235 troops re-enlisting in Kandahar province that they have achieved progress on the battlefield but that “much work remains” to be done in Afghanistan.

    “You raised your right hand and said ‘Send me,’ and today you raised your right hand again and said ‘Send me again, if needed,’” he told the soldiers on America’s 235th birthday.

    For the entire article:

    • Petraeus: Afghan fight slowly shifting to east

      7/4/11 AP – 2 hrs 17 mins ago

      KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The outgoing commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says the focus of the war will shift in upcoming months from Taliban strongholds in the south to the nation’s porous eastern border with Pakistan.

      On his last Fourth of July in uniform before becoming CIA director, Gen. David Petraeus says that more special forces, intelligence and air power will be further concentrated on disrupting insurgents in the east.

      Petraeus spoke to The Associated Press and three other news outlets Monday after attending re-enlistment ceremonies in Kandahar and at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul.

      For the entire article:

  17. Happy Fourth of July CR, COS, Jackie, Tigerfists and all friends!

    HOPE your day is wonderful!


  18. What You Can Do to Support Military Families

    Posted by Erin Lindsay on July 04, 2011

    This morning, the First Lady sent the following message to the White House email list, wishing them a Happy Independence Day and encouraging all Americans to honor our brave men and women in uniform by volunteering to give back to the military families who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.

    If you didn’t get the email, be sure to sign up for the White House email list.

    Good morning,

    This Independence Day, I hope you’ll join me and my family in recognizing both our brave men and women in uniform and their families for everything they do to protect our country and our way of life.

    We know that when our troops are called to serve, their families serve right along with them. For military kids, that means stepping up to help with the housework and putting on a brave face through all those missed holidays, bedtimes and ballet recitals. For military spouses, it means pulling double-duty, doing the work of both parents, often while juggling a full-time job or trying to get an education.

    That’s why, a few months ago, Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces, a nationwide campaign to recognize, honor, and serve our military families. Our troops give so much to this country and they ask us for just one thing in return: to take care of their families while they’re gone. So we’ve put out a call to action. We’re urging all Americans to ask themselves one question: What can I do to give back to these families that have given so much?

    To answer that question you can go to and learn more about how you can get involved. And you can get started right now through Operation Honor Card by pledging to spend a certain number of hours serving military families in your community.

    Our motto for Joining Forces is very simple: Everyone can do something. We’ve met folks in every corner of the country who are stepping up and helping out in their own small ways in their neighborhoods and in their communities. They’re popping over to rake the leaves, or bringing a family a home-cooked meal, or offering to babysit. And I know that if we each do whatever we can, if we all join forces, we can show military families across this country that we have them in our hearts, we have them in our prayers, and we always have their backs.

    Happy Independence Day!


    First Lady Michelle Obama

    For the entire article:

  19. Happy 4th from @VP

    Posted by Amy Dudley on July 04, 2011

    Watch out @whitehouse… Vice President Biden’s office is now on Twitter.

    Today, the Office of the Vice President launched an official Twitter account – @VP – with a call from Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden asking all Americans to remember our troops and military families on Independence Day.

    VP&Dr. B hope you take time to think about our troops & military families this Independence Day, Happy July 4th from OVP! @JoiningForces
    @VP is the latest addition to the growing White House community on Twitter and comes as the White House prepares for its first ever Twitter Town Hall with President Obama this Wednesday, July 6th at 2:00 EDT.

    Through @VP, Vice President Biden’s staff will keep followers up to speed on all things happening in the Office of the Vice President (OVP) – from the West Wing, to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the Office of Dr. Jill Biden, to the Naval Observatory. @VP will be on the road with the Vice President across the country and around the world, providing updates on the latest news and announcements coming out of OVP, as well as a behind the scenes look at Veep-life.

    We hope you’ll connect with the Vice President’s office today by following us @VP, as well as tune in to hear the President discuss jobs and the economy with @whitehouse followers at the White House Twitter Town Hall.

  20. When Good News is Not News (for the neysayers)

    July 03, 2011 | Posted by Deaniac83 – ThePeople’sView

    There is a saying for entities, politicians and companies in trouble: no news is good news. But what if our venerable corporate media, along with far Right and Left Puritan filters, has managed to turn that on its head into “Good news is not news?” That seems to be the case of covering the important issues of the country. The media is tremendously interested in covering how the gas prices went up and that ticked people off against the president, and – oh, my, God – maybe put us into a double dip recession (which, umm, it didn’t). When things are pointing down, these people are very interested in them. Not so much when things are pointing up, though.

    No doubt we have had a couple of tough months. Manufacturing was beginning to slug after strong showings over the past year. Everyone was waiting with baited breath to see if it was a bump in the road to economic turnaround or the prelude to a new recession. Well, here’s your answer:

    July started on a positive note for U.S. stocks with Wall Street notching its fifth day of gains on Friday after a surprising jump in manufacturing data eased concerns about a tepid economic recovery.

    The gains put equities on track for their best week in nearly a year, as the data and a temporary resolution to Greece’s debt situation spurred increased demand for riskier assets.

    For the entire article:

  21. Veterans battle homelessness as they return from war

    3 July 2011 By Peter Bowes – BBC News

    Los Angeles, CA – As families around the United States celebrate the nation’s Independence Day, many will be counting the days to the return of their loved ones from military service in Afghanistan.

    Some 33,000 troops are expected to head home by September 2012.

    For those who leave the military world, there will be challenges ahead as they adjust to civilian life. The least fortunate may end up becoming homeless and many will battle the mental scars of war.

    Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are finding themselves living on the streets faster than those who served in previous conflicts, including Vietnam.

    Approximately one in five homeless adults around the US is a veteran.

    Nationwide, about 130,000 ex-servicemen and women do not have anywhere to live. Los Angeles is regarded as the country’s homeless capital, where the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates there are up to 8,000 veterans without a home.

    Other organisations, including non-profit groups assisting the homeless, believe the figure is much higher.

    For the entire article:

    • July 04, 2011

      Remarks by the President at White House Independence Day Celebration

      South Lawn

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Happy Fourth of July! (Applause.) On behalf of the entire Obama family, we want to welcome you here to the White House.

      Right now, in small towns and big cities all across America, folks are getting together in their backyards; they’re raising flags, firing up grills, and enjoying time with family and with friends. It’s a tradition that we try to follow here at the White House — although I’ve got to say we’ve got a few more people here than most. And I cannot think of anybody I would rather celebrate with than all of you — the men and women of our military and our extraordinary military families. (Applause.)

      So let me just check to see who we’ve got here. I understand we’ve got some Army here. (Applause.) How about Navy? (Applause.) Air Force! (Applause.) Marines! (Applause.) And we’ve got some Coast Guard. (Applause.)

      After all that you do for our country every day, we wanted to give you guys a chance to get out of the uniform, relax a little bit and have some fun.

      But of course it’s also a time for us to reflect on the meaning of America. In many ways, I think that that small band of patriots who signed their names to the Declaration of Independence and risked their lives for freedom might be surprised to see their legacy all these years later: A nation that’s led revolutions in commerce, that sent a man to the moon, that lifted up the poor, that cured the sick; a nation that fought for democracy and served as a beacon of hope around the world.

      For the entire article:

    • Salute The Troops Independence Day Celebration

      From: whitehouse | Jul 4, 2011

      For the third year running, the White House joined with the USO and hosted a Fourth of July Celebration on the South Lawn of The White House in honor of military families.

    • 4th of July at the White House 2011

      From: whitehouse | Jul 4, 2011

      The White House and the USO celebrate the 4th of July with service members and their families at the White House Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn.

  22. *********************

    NBLB Come on over to my newest post

    titled: “White House Twitter Town Hall – #AskObama”

    To get to newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the page and click on the title of the newest post

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