Independence Day is one of my favorite times of the year. The picnics, barbeques, fireworks, parades and spending time with family and friends make it a day of great fun. In remembrance of our freedom, I decided that for the next few blogs leading up to July 4th, I will post some stories that give us a historical background as to how some things in America came to pass. Today’s story: The Birth of the Fourth of July.
Independence Day also known as 4th of July is the birthday of the United States of America. It is celebrated on July 4th each year in the United States. It is the anniversary of the day on which the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress – July 4, 1776.
This was the day that America announced to the world that the 13 colonies no longer belonged to Great Britain. The thirteen colonies were: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia. In May, 1776, after nearly a year of trying to resolve their differences with England, the colonies sent delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Finally, in June, admitting that their efforts were hopeless; a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. On June 28, 1776, Thomas Jefferson presented the first draft of the declaration to Congress. Independence Day was first observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.
On July 4, 1777, the night sky of Philadelphia lit up with the blaze of bonfires. Candles illuminated the windows of houses and public buildings. Church bells rang out load, and cannons were shot from ships breaking the silence. The city was celebrating the first anniversary of the founding of the United States.
The Fourth of July soon became the main patriotic holiday of the entire country. Veterans of the Revolutionary War made a tradition of gathering on the Fourth to remember their victory. In towns and cities, the American flag flew; shops displayed red, white, and blue decorations; and people marched in parades that were followed by public readings of the Declaration of Independence. It is one of the few federal holidays that have not been moved to the nearest Friday or Monday.
Some Fun July 4th Facts:
- The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
- Before cars ruled the roadway, the Fourth of July was traditionally the most miserable day of the year for horses, tormented by all the noise and by the boys and girls who threw firecrackers at them.
- The first Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi occurred at Independence Creek and was celebrated by Lewis and Clark in 1805.
- Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on Independence Day, July 4, 1826.
- Bristol, Rhode Island has been celebrating independence continuously since 1785.
- Fireworks are largely imported. According to the United States Census in 2011, Americans purchased $223.6 million of this product from China. The second highest import associated with this holiday is flags.
- In 1941, Congress declared July 4 a federal legal holiday. During the same year, the PGA establishes the Golf Hall of Fame. In addition, General Mills launches a new product: Cheerios.