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Happy July 4th!

From our house to yours, we wish you a very happy 4th of July! Today we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence, which occurred on July 4th, 1776. I'm sure most of you are getting ready to fire up the grill and have plans to see some fireworks tonight. For me, today is all about three things: fun with family and friends, celebrating our great country and enjoying delicious food. Here are some tips on how to indulge in all three activities, while staying safe. Fun We already covered the July 4th party basics, so hopefully your party plans are set. For now, here are some fun stats about today:

  • 2.5 million: In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
  • 316.2 million: The nation's estimated population on this July 4th.
  • History refresh: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston comprised the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration.

Celebrating the US-of-A This holiday is a day when we celebrate our country, so let's not forget to give back whenever we can. You can do this in big or small strides: simply fly the American Flag, donate, support our troops, or volunteer. Here are some ideas on how to do that and much more.

BBQ safety Make sure everything (hands, utensils, surfaces) is clean when getting ready to fire up the grill. Be sure to separate raw meat, cooked meat and ready-to-eat foods (like raw veggies) to avoid cross-contamination. Use a food thermometer to be sure foods are cooked to the right temperature. (Burgers should be cooked to 160deg F.) And chill raw and prepared foods promptly if not consuming after cooking. You shouldn't leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours. Find more BBQ safety tips here.

Also don't forget to brush up on the fireworks laws and take a 10-question safety quiz to test your knowledge on firework safety.

Now you're ready to have a safe and fun holiday! Happy July 4th!

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