Happy Birthday, America!
1976. The Two-hundreth anniversary of the founding of our nation. I can't believe it's been THIRTY YEARS since the American Bicentennial in 1976! This was one of the big events of my teenage years (I was 15) and the memories seem like it happened just yesterday.
I remember vividly the TALL SHIPS celebration, where they gathered as many tall sailing ships from around the world as they could find and sailed them to visit various American ports... we saw a couple of them in Baltimore, and they were very grand.
And then we visited Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell up close and personal.
And then there was the merchandising... there was Bicentennial stuff EVERYWHERE, long before there was that type of "product saturation" in America... everything was Red, White and Blue and we all felt very proud to be part of this momentous national celebration... so naturally, we bought the stuff.
There were Bicentennial versions of those newfangled pocket calculators, though at $99 a pop, these were not toys!:
T-shirts were quickly becoming the nation's casual wear of choice:
You could even trick out your Mustang II (ugh!) or Pinto (double ugh!) with "Special Accent Kits":
And for the burgeoning Craft market, for that "Betsy Ross" look:
Uh... I never saw one of these, but I do remember a train engine painted up like this:
How about this cool Bicentennial Muscle Bike for some groovy chick:
And we can't forget how Disney almost co-opted the Bicentennial by flooding the country with stuff like this:
There were even some cool comic books out like this Kirby-filled Treasury Edition:
Even the fire hydrants and public mailboxes got painted up like Revolutionary heroes or covered with patriotic themes...
And there were lots of parades and speeches, and the largest fireworks displays ever were held all around the country as communities tried to outdo each other in patriotic fervor... we were America and it was our 200th birthday! Here's to our 230th!
A M E R I C A!
SPECIAL EXTRA CREDIT BONUS: HERE'S a link to the full text of the Declaration of Independence, with an audio link to it being read by various correspondents at NPR... this document still resonates today, doesn't it?