4th of July Declaration Ceremony

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This Fourth of July Declaration Ceremony is a  short ceremony designed to help us remember what the Fourth of July is really about, and to remind ourselves how fortunate we all are to be Americans.

For many of us, the Fourth of July is a day for barbecues, baseball, shopping, and fireworks. There is nothing wrong with any of this. But in 1776, our founders didn’t sign the Declaration of Independence (and then go to war) only so that later generations would spend July 4th at the department store. They knew Americans needed to be educated and informed in order for our hard-won liberty to survive. As Thomas Jefferson put it: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

As Americans, we need to reconnect to our heritage, channel the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and rediscover the meaning behind our country’s creation. And we need to do it every year. That’s point of observing the Fourth of July: To help us remember why this country was founded, and to help us transmit that collective memory to the next generation.

4th of July

How can we do this? Through ritual.

We Americans need a ritual to remind ourselves of our national origins and our national purpose. That is why Prager University has created the Fourth of July Declaration Ceremony, which draws its inspiration from one of the most enduring rituals in the world: the Jewish Passover Seder. (“Seder” means “order” in Hebrew.)

For thousands of years, the Passover Seder has helped Jews around the world to remember that they are descendants of an enslaved people who were liberated by the mighty hand of God. The Founders of the United States (including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and others) were all well-versed in the Bible and knew the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. They viewed their break from England as a new exodus; so much so that Franklin and Jefferson wanted the seal of the newly-formed United States to depict the Israelites escaping across the Red Sea.

Even though that design was not chosen, the original historical inspiration still remains. Like the Passover seder, the Fourth of July Declaration Ceremony can be a powerful ritual that helps us transmit our love for this country to our children and grandchildren.

In keeping with our philosophy at Prager University that profound concepts can be taught in five minutes or less, we have kept the Declaration Ceremony brief. In our experience, adults find it meaningful and children find it fascinating.

If you follow our simple guide, the Fourth of July will be more than just another barbecue or fireworks display. It will become the kind of day it was meant to be: a celebration of the birth of our exceptional country, and a way of showing gratitude for the gift of liberty that has been bestowed upon us all.

You can always add more to your 4th of July Declaration (and we have lots of suggestions as to how) but we’ve given you the basics here.

Doing a little will mean a lot –to you, to your family and friends, and to the nation. Happy Fourth of July!

Materials and Ingredients Needed for the Ceremony:
Iced tea
Salty pretzels and salt
Strawberries and blueberries and whipped cream
(Be creative! you may also use cake, cupcakes or any other white-red and blue sweet treats)
A small bell
An American coin
(For example a quarter)
An American flag
A printed Declaration of Independence

This ceremony was developed by developed by Prager University

Do This for 10 Minutes on the Fourth of July

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