It's the ultimate day to be an American, and it only happens once a year.  You better get it right.  Here's the things you absolutely need.  If you don't have it, man badge revoked.

1.  Brats or some other red meat - Not chicken, not hot dogs, and for God's sake no veggie burgers!  July 4th everyone eats red meat.  Vegetarians don't get to celebrate.  Case closed.

2.  Beer - If you don't drink, get an O'douls.  But it ain't 4th of July without beer.  Remember, most of our founding fathers were drunks.  (e.g. Ben Franklin.)

3.  Potato Salad - Every good 4th of July party has potato salad.  It's been tried with tuna salad, and it failed miserably.

4.  Fireworks besides sparklers. The kids can have the sparklers, but there has to be something bigger and better for the adults.  Check your local laws, then shrug it off and buy them anyway like most people do.  (Actually I am obligated to tell you not to buy them if it is illegal.)

5.  Paper plates. Nobody wants to do dishes on 4th of July.  Nobody.  Say the heck with it for one day and use plastic forks and paper plates.  It's just easier.