Here's The Real Meaning Behind Today's 4th Of July Google Doodle

Today, we find ourselves in the middle of an odd holiday. The Fourth Of July, like Thanksgiving, is fraught and complicated every year in the United States — a nation that is, of course, founded on a history of violence and appropriation. This year, with the state of American politics being what it is, it may be extra tough for some Americans to find a reason to celebrate. But don't give up! Because there are at least two Great American Inventions that both sides of the aisle can agree are useful, groundbreaking, and pretty damn fun to boot: Google, and the National Park Service. Today's holiday Google Doodle offers a representation of both.
Google explains that the doodle, which depicts wild animals native to North America living their best lives under a star-spangled sky, is an homage to conservationist Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. President Woodrow Wilson created the Park Service in 1916 (happy belated centennial, NPS!); the parks now include over 84 million acres and welcome more than 275 million visitors annually. Plus, in a cute coincidence, Mather was also born on July 4. A patriot from birth, that guy! Google adds that the NPS is "often hailed as 'America's Best Idea.'"
So whether you're spending this day — the 241st anniversary of America's independence — barbecuing or wearing flag onesies or donating to the ACLU or all of the above, take a moment to appreciate Mather and Wilson and all those pretty, pretty parks (yes, we appreciate you, too, Google). After all, the country's wilderness is truly what makes it "America the beautiful." And hey, with the national parks as a badass part of the resistance, anything's possible, right?
Oh, and if you're still in the market for a summer vacation (and not looking to replicate Taylor Swift's $50K Fourth of July getaway), we've got an idea for a patriotic trip that's accessible, affordable, and even more breathtaking. Just don't forget to pack your bear spray.
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