Vail Daily column: Fourth of July quiz | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Fourth of July quiz

Greg Ziccardi
Valley Voices

Greg Ziccardi

God bless America. We're celebrating Independence Day in the country we call the U.S. of A. There will be parades in the morning, picnics in the afternoon, fireworks in the evening and a lot of drinking all day. If you work for a living, then it's a slam dunk you're off from the daily grind. If you're "essential personnel" and you work for the government, then you're making triple time and one half. If you work in a resort community, then there are no holidays and most will report as scheduled … but I digress already.

This day in the history of our country's existence celebrates how it all came about. Perhaps we should re-examine why this is one of the most revered of holidays on the calendar. But before we do, let's review and take a little history test to prove our worthiness.

Answer the following and you could be eligible for benefits offered to those that don't even qualify:

1. Many of our ancestors came over on ships because airplanes were not yet invented. Some came from Italy. Others from Spain and France. Still others from Germany, England and Asia. Of those countries or continents, with which did we ultimately not agree and start a war with because we didn't like their rules and taxes? (Hint: In spite of your feelings about rules and taxes today, it was a long time ago.)

2. When presidents actually commanded respect, who was the first one our nation inaugurated? (Hint: His portrait took the place of Salmon Chase on a legal tender note, he didn't have a wooden leg, he could easily tell a lie and he hated cherries.)

3. Two-part question: There was a war fought in 1812 when Jimmy Madison was an appointed/elected official. What was the name of the war and what did Jimmy do?

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• The Revolutionary War/secretary of state.

• War against Liquor (Prohibition)/CEO of Jack Daniels Corp.

• War of 1812/president.

4. Our government (as we grew bigger and bigger) negotiated the purchase of a piece of property from what nation or city?

• Louisiana from Italy.

• Alaska from St. Petersburg.

• The Republic of San Francisco from the Dodger Nation. (Take your time and come back later if you're not sure.)

5. There are three branches of government that make our republic unique and sometimes more inefficient than any other nation in the world. Those branches would be:

• The Bushes, Clintons and Kennedys.

• The EPA, IRS and NSA.

• The legislative, executive and judicial in today's world.

• The legislative, executive and judicial the founding fathers envisioned.

6. Who invented fireworks?

• Tang Dynasty.

• Elin Nordegren and her ex, Tiger Woods.

• Benjamin Franklin.

7. We, as American citizens, consider what document the most important one written for this historical time of year?

• Magna Carta, 1215.

• Articles of Confederation, 1777.

• Declaration of Independence, 1776.

• The Constitution, 1787.

Pencils down.

Answers: England came up with a lot of crappy laws and taxes while trying desperately to enforce them on some pretty resilient (and independent) people. George Washington (later inaugurated president) would have nothing to do with such tyrannical rule. The British would not give up and started the War of 1812 attempting to re-take the new America. Again, our president, James Madison (in spite of being exiled from our capital during the war), would have nothing to do with it and defeated the Brits again. The Russians in St. Petersburg wanted nothing to do with the barren wasteland called Alaska and we bought it for a song ($7.2 million). Of course the original legislative, executive and judicial branches of government negotiated all of this while respecting each other's powers in the process. And who could forget all the fireworks (invented by the Chinese in the Tang Dynasty years) when the Declaration of Independence was agreed upon in 1776?

Joke, complain, stomp your feet or protest; this is and will remain the best place on earth to raise a family, educate yourself, see the sites, practice any religion, marry anyone you want, make money, smoke dope, drive a gas guzzler and, generally speaking, be free to do as you please.

Enjoy the day off if you have one.

Greg Ziccardi can be reached at gzvail@yahoo.com.