Independence Day, commonly called as the 4th of July in the United States, has beesn federal holiday in the country since 1941. In some movies, you may have heard of the 4th of July, fireworks displays, all of which relate to very important dates in the United States history and traditions. So, why Independence day is important to Americans? Learn the history, meaning and traditions of Independence Day in this article.
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Why Independence day is important?
The grand facts about America’s Independence Day are widely well known. It is the day we officially declared our independence from Great Britain and turned the nascent armed resistance in the colonies into a battle for self-governance of a new nation made up of “united nations.” But creating and signing the Declaration of Independence was much more complicated than it is often depicted in pictures. The birth of America is a complicated process, and in honor of the 4th of July this year, let’s dive deeper and answer the quesion why Independence day is important.
4th of July History
Independence Day is a time to show our patriotic pride. The 4th of July marks the day in 1776 when the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the formal separation of the colonies from the UK in the wake of the Revolutionary War.
According to the Library of Congress, Philadelphia marked America’s first anniversary of independence with a celebration, but it wasn’t until after the War of 1812 that the 4th of July celebration spread nationally.
What does July 4th mean?
July 4th, in the simplest sense, is America’s birthday. That was the day when we, after long years of struggle and months of debate, duly elected representatives of the original Thirteen Colonies announced to the world that they had established a new nation.
Independence Day Celebrations
From the very beginning, the 4th of July was widely celebrated across the United States. On its first anniversary, in 1777, ceremonies from Rhode Island to Virginia included 13 13-gun salutes, fireworks, and lots of red, white, and blue bunting.
In 1778, General George Washington honored the occasion by offering his men a double serving of rum. It is believed that the first public, organized celebration of Independence Day was held by the town of Salem, North Carolina in 1783. The first official parade was held in Bristol, Rhode Island in 1785. And In 1870, this day became a federal holiday. However it was not a paid federal vacation until 1938.
Many of the traditions we associate with Independence Day today are always part of the celebration. Fireworks, parades, family gatherings, big barbecues, and everything and everyone in the colors of the United States flag. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the eve was also the occasion for major celebrations, typically massive bonfires.
Many towns in New England will even compete to see who can build the biggest one. And some military installations traditionally include 50 salute guns in their celebrations, one for each current state in the Union.
Fourth of July Fireworks
Fireworks were first used in the early 200 BC. The tradition of fireworks on the 4th of July began in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, during the first organized Independence Day celebrations. The Ship’s cannon fired 13 shots to celebrate the 13 colonies. The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported: “at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.” That same night, the Sons of Liberty set off fireworks over Boston Common.
Independence Day Facts & Trivia
Now that you’ve brushed up your historical knowledge as well as why Independence day is important. In this part, let’s move on to the more fun part. We already know that our audience loves facts and trivia about America and its military. So, we’ve gathered some interesting tidbits about the birth of Independence Day for you:
Not all of the early colonists wanted complete independence
Although today we consider 4th of July a nationwide celebration of freedom and independence as a nation, the original colonists did not all want to break ties with Great Britain. In fact, the colonists who advocated full independence were at first seen as radicals. It was not until 1776, when tensions rose and British control was at its peak, that many colonists began to support full independence as a nation.
Independence Day could have been celebrated on July 2nd
That is, if John Adams has his way! It was on this day that the Continental Congress voted almost unanimously for independence. In a letter to his wife, Adam wrote that July 2 will be a day of celebration for future generations, a day filled with “Pomp and Parade…” and “Bonfires and Illumination from one End of this Continent to the other. Adams turned out to be partially correct, at least – he just got the date wrong!
The first Independence Day celebration was quite different from today
Yes, John Adams called for a festival of fanfare, parades and light shows but what many colonists did to celebrate was a little different. Some hold fake funerals for King George III, mocking their old king and embracing the birth of a new nation.
Through this article, you probably already know why Independence day is important. So, since that hot summer day in Philadelphia, our country has grown and changed in countless ways. But the spirit of freedom that led to the ratification and proclamation of the Declaration of Independence, one of America’s holiest documents, remains strong and steady.
From Tshirtatlowprice’s family to yours, we wish you a safe and fun free weekend with family, fireworks and barbecue!