By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s Independence Day, so we’re hitting “reply all” to your Fourth of July Good Questions.

Some viewers have wondered: Why are our nation’s colors red, white, and blue?

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Our forefathers decided that the blue symbolizes the heavens, a symbol of eternal hope. The stars signal a new universe.

The red is for the blood that was shed to form country.

And the white stands for the purity of our nation’s intentions when our country was formed.

Many of you have wondered: Who is Uncle Sam, and where did he come from?

He’s been around since 1792.

The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from New York who supplied barrels of beef to the Army during the War of 1812.

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He stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States. But soldiers began referring to the food as “Uncle Sam’s.”

Uncle Sam eventually became the nickname for the U.S. government.”

The Uncle Sam image you know today was created by the artist James Montgomery Flagg. During World War I, the image was used on a recruiting poster with the words “I want you for the U.S. Army.”

Every year viewers ask: Why do we set off fireworks on the Fourth of July?

“The bombs bursting in air” is a phrase from “The Star Spangled Banner,” which was written in 1814.

But many historians believe the origination came from John Adams, a Founding Father and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

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He called our nation’s independence the Great Anniversary Festival. And he said it should be celebrated with things like pomp and parade, games, sports, and illuminations, which many took to mean fireworks.

John Lauritsen