NEW JERSEY, USA: Eye on Culture: The 4th of July

Growing up, my best memories of July 4th, the U.S. Independence Day, were picking out my clothes in shades of red, white and blue, helping my mom put our U.S. flag outside our house and getting to run around with fire sparklers around our backyard at night.

Sparklers were for the younger kids (say 8 years old and up), while the big kids were helping the adults set off fireworks on our side yard.  You’re not allowed to light off your own fireworks now in NJ for safety reasons, come to think about it, I’m pretty sure that you weren’t allowed to back then either.

I can still smell the savory scents of the day: hotdogs, sauerkraut, hamburgers, sausage, peppers and onions coming from the grill, and the aroma of mom’s potato salad, barbecue chicken and corn on the cob coming from the kitchen.  We barbecued all day in our backyard, and my parents would have their friends over. And, everyone brought their kids, so the kids were always off playing on their own.

My mom would also make a U.S. flag cake, decorated with blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream, and my dad would stand over the grill until everyone had their fill.  I can still hear him calling me his “bicentennial baby” because I was born in the year of my nation’s bicentennial, 1976. (more…)

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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