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Celebrate America: Made in the U.S.A

July marks our nation's birthday, and as millions gather to celebrate Independence Day, feelings and ideas of what make the United States great will undoubtedly flood the minds of those attending local barbecues, neighborhood block parties, or fireworks displays. The United States is ripe with diversity, and there's no better way of celebrating this great nation than focusing on promoting American made manufacturers and craftsmen.

While a majority of products found in homes are now produced elsewhere, there are still American companies producing quality products for every facet of life. When celebrating the Fourth of July this year, wave a flag made by Annin & Co, the oldest and largest flag manufacturer in the United States, a company started in 1847. Celebrate American independence by supporting local workers and craftsmen!

Products made in the U.S. not only offer superior workmanship, but they also help promote the U.S. economy. In recent decades, many American companies have moved production overseas, attracted by cheaper labor and production costs in less developed countries. Manufacturing is a crucial part of any economy and has been woven into the structure of the American economy since World War 2; only since the early 2000s has American manufacturing seen a steady decline, and the numbers continue to fall into 2014, but a small group of Americans have made a point of counteracting the outsourcing movement in the United States.

In recent years, more and more companies have tried to shift the focus back to American made products, and even home builders have shown an interest in promoting 'Made in America.' The Building A Better America Council (buildingforamerica.org), a nonprofit organization, was created to promote the manufacturing and purchasing of American made products in the construction industry. Portland, OR's 2013 Street of Dreams featured a home by Westlake Development Group appropriately named "The American Dream," where 97 percent of products used to construct the house were made in America -- from nuts, bolts and lighting fixtures to rescued barn wood featured in the home's rec room.