Undoing the damage of the University... five minutes at a time.

PragerU's 4th of July in Afghanistan -
A Meaningful Independence Day for America's Soldiers in Action

Prager University's largest ever Fourth of July Declaration ceremony was held in Afghanistan this year, on an American military base in Kandahar. Nathan Brooks, a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, helped organize a Declaration ceremony on July 4th, 2013 with close to 100 soldiers.

"It happened!" Brooks, a helicopter pilot, wrote to Prager University. "I think this might be the first 4th of July Declaration in Afghanistan."

He sent in photos showing soldiers signing the Declaration of Independence, and saying (in unison) a prayer for America.

"My favorite photo is of a soldier singing the national anthem, and in the background there is a soldier standing on a ladder working on a rotor blade of the helicopter," Brooks wrote.

"You can see him standing at the position of attention on the ladder and saluting the flag, protocol for whenever soldiers can hear the national anthem and a flag is present."

The Fourth of July Declaration ceremony, an original Independence Day project created by Prager Univeristy in 2011, has quickly spread to hundreds of families across America. Next year, Prager University plans to expand its impact in the military-for soldiers serving abroad and for those based at home.

Inspired by the impact that it had on Brooks' fellow soldiers, he thinks that Prager University, working with American military officials, will be able to help make July 4th an even more meaningful day for those risking their lives to serve the United States.


Welcome to our Fourth of July Declaration Ceremony. This short ceremony is designed to help us remember what the Fourth of July is really about, and to remind ourselves how fortunate we all are to be Americans.

For many of us, the Fourth of July is a day for barbecues, baseball, shopping, and fireworks. There is nothing wrong with any of this. But in 1776, our founders didn't sign the Declaration of Independence (and then go to war) only so that later generations would spend July 4th at the department store. They knew Americans needed to be educated and informed in order for our hard-won liberty to survive. As Thomas Jefferson put it: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

As Americans, we need to reconnect to our heritage, channel the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and rediscover the meaning behind our country's creation. And we need to do it every year. That's point of observing the Fourth of July: To help us remember why this country was founded, and to help us transmit that collective memory to the next generation.

How can we do this? Through ritual.

We Americans need a ritual to remind ourselves of our national origins and our national purpose. That is why Prager University has created the Fourth of July Declaration Ceremony, which draws its inspiration from one of the most enduring rituals in the world: the Jewish Passover Seder. ("Seder" means "order" in Hebrew.)

For thousands of years, the Passover Seder has helped Jews around the world to remember that they are descendants of an enslaved people who were liberated by the mighty hand of God. The Founders of the United States (including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and others) were all well-versed in the Bible and knew the story of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt. They viewed their break from England as a new exodus; so much so that Franklin and Jefferson wanted the seal of the newly-formed United States to depict the Israelites escaping across the Red Sea.

Even though that design was not chosen, the original historical inspiration still remains. Like the Passover seder, the Fourth of July Declaration Ceremony can be a powerful ritual that helps us transmit our love for this country to our children and grandchildren.

In keeping with our philosophy at Prager University that profound concepts can be taught in five minutes or less, we have kept the Declaration Ceremony brief. In our experience, adults find it meaningful and children find it fascinating.

If you follow our simple guide, the Fourth of July will be more than just another barbecue or fireworks display. It will become the kind of day it was meant to be: a celebration of the birth of our exceptional country, and a way of showing gratitude for the gift of liberty that has been bestowed upon us all.

You can always add more to your 4th of July Declaration (and we have lots of suggestions as to how) but we've given you the basics here.

Doing a little will mean a lot --to you, to your family and friends, and to the nation. Happy Fourth of July!
4th of July Sparkler

Materials and Ingredients Needed for the Ceremony:

  • Iced tea
  • Salty pretzels and salt
  • Strawberries and blueberries and whipped cream
    (Be creative! you may also use cake, cupcakes or any other white-red and blue sweet treats)
  • A small bell
  • An American coin
    (For example a quarter)
  • An American flag
  • A printed Declaration of Independence


Donate to Prager University and receive the 4th of July Declaration ceremony kit as a gift!

4th of July Kit
In this kit you will find:
  • An unsigned Declaration of Independence
  • A Liberty Bell
  • An American Flag
  • A ceremony book and an American Trinity pin for the leader
  • 10 Chocolate Coins
  • And a couple of other surprises...
Minimum donation $35 per kit


DIRECTION: Everyone gathers around the table
Today we take a few minutes to remember what the 4th of July is about and to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be Americans.

Before America was a nation, it was a dream - a dream shared by many people, from many nations, over many generations.

It began with the Pilgrims in 1620 who fled Europe so that they could be free to practice their religion. It continued through the 17th century as more and more people came to the place that came to be known as the New World. In this new world, where you came from didn't matter; what mattered was where you were headed.

As more and more people settled, they started to see themselves as new people - Americans.

They felt blessed: The land was spacious. The opportunities limitless.

By 1776, a century and a half after the first Pilgrims landed, this new liberty-loving people was ready to create a new nation.

And on July 4 of that year they did just that. They pronounced themselves to be free of the rule of the English king. We know this statement as The Declaration of Independence.

Betsy Ross Flag
DIRECTION: Host invites the young people
(generally ages 7 and older) present to
read and to answer the following:
Q:Why do we celebrate the 4th of July?
A:Because the 4th of July is the birthday of the American people - the day we chose to become the United States of America, a free nation.

Q:Why was America different from all other countries?
A:Because in 1776, all countries were based on nationality, religion, ethnicity or geography. But America was created on the basis of a set of ideas. This is still true today.

Q:What are those ideas?
A:Three ideas summarize what America is all about. They are engraved on every American coin. They are "Liberty," "In God We Trust," and "E Pluribus Unum."

DIRECTION: Host passes around
an American coin and chooses readers
from the group to read the following:


"Liberty" means that we are free to pursue our dreams and to go as far in life as hard work and good luck will take us.



"In God We Trust" means that America was founded on the belief
that our rights and liberties have been granted to us by the Creator. Therefore they cannot be taken away by people.

In GOD We Trust


"E Pluribus Unum" is a Latin phrase meaning "From Many, One." Unlike other countries, America is composed of people of every religious, racial, ethnic, cultural and national origin - and regards
every one of them as equally American. Therefore, "out of many (people we become) one" -- Americans.

E Pluribus Unum

We have on our table items that symbolize the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War that won our freedom.

DIRECTION: Host holds up each symbolic item
as he explains its symbolic meaning.
  • We drink iced tea to remember the Boston tea party. "No taxation without representation" was the patriots' chant as they dumped British tea into the Boston Harbor.
  • We eat a salty pretzel to remember the tears shed by the families who lost loved ones in the struggle for freedom in the Revolutionary War and all the wars of freedom that followed.
  • We ring a bell to recall the ringing of the Liberty Bell which was rung to announce the surrender of the King's army. On the Bell are inscribed these words from the Book of Leviticus: "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof."
  • We eat strawberries and blueberries dipped in whipped cream to celebrate the red, white and blue of our flag, symbol of the United States of America.

We celebrate America's greatness without denying its flaws. There are no perfect individuals, so there can certainly be no perfect country. Our national history has its share of shame. The greatest of these is the shame of slavery which existed at our founding, as it existed throughout the world at that time.

But let it never be forgotten that we fought a terrible civil war in which hundreds of thousands of American died. And the reason for that war was slavery.

Let it also not be forgotten that America has fought in more wars for the freedom of other peoples than any nation in history.

America's history is one that we can be proud of.

DIRECTION: Host holds up a copy
of The Declaration of Independence.
We now close with one more ritual. Let each of us sign our names to the Declaration of Independence. While it is a replica of the one our founders signed, the words and sentiments are eternal.

DIRECTION: Everyone present signs
their name to the Declaration of Independence.
As each one signs, the host hands each person
the lyrics to "God Bless America."
Everyone sing with me.

DIRECTION: Everyone sings (hopefully).
Happy Birthday, America. Happy 4th of July. Now let's eat!



Contact Form:

First Name:
Last Name:
Phone Number:
  *In the comments, please include links to your photos or videos.

We look forward to hearing from you about your 4th of July Declaration ceremony. We are interested in finding out what worked and what didn't.

Email us:
  • Videos and photos of you, your family and friends celebrating this special event
  • Write us about your experience
  • If you have ideas for next year please share them with us!

And we'll send you The 4th of July Declaration Kit as a token of appreciation!

If you've watched one of our courses or enjoyed some of our programs, consider paying some "tuition." It's a way you can "pay it forward," by helping us make more courses, come up with more programs, add faculty and staff, build up our website, and market our message.

If you contribute at least $35 by June 26th we'll send you our 4th of July Declaration Kit so you can use it during your Independence Day celebration.

Please make sure to fill in all the required information and process your contribution via PayPal. Once your donation is confirmed, we will make sure to get the kit to you before July 3rd.


Phone Number:
Street Address:
Zip Code:
Donation Amount: $
(Minimum $35)

          What's in the kit? (We recommend one kit per 10 guests)
  • A Small Replica of a Liberty Bell
  • 10 Milk Chocolate Replicas of an American Quarter
  • An American Flag
  • A Replica of The Declaration of Independence Without Signatures
  • The Ceremony for the Leader
For the complete list of items required for the
ceremony you will still need to acquire:
  • Iced Tea
  • Salty pretzels and salt
  • Strawberries and blueberries and whipped cream
    (Be creative! you may also use cake, cupcakes or any other white-red and blue sweet treats)
  • Extra printed ceremonies

More About What's in the 4th of July Declaration Kit

Text PragerU to 69302 to receive text updates on your phone Prager University's 4th Of July Declaration Ceremony Download Prager University's iPhone App Prager University's Curriculum



Prager U Links

Main Navigation

Copyright 2013; All rights reserved. Prager University.
Switch to Mobile Version. View our Privacy Policy.