Independence Day Better Known as The 4th of July

by Mavis Hansen

National

Here we are, wondering where the first half of the year went as we prepare to celebrate our nation’s most important holiday, Independence Day, the 4th of July.  The Birthday of the United States of America commemorates the day in 1776 when the American colonists declared their independence from Great Britain by adopting the Declaration of Independence and announcing to the world that “these United Colonies are free and independent states.” The first celebration took place four days later with a public reading of the Declaration outside the State House (now Independence Hall) followed by a parade, bonfires and the firing of cannons.  The Liberty Bell rang out and the coat of arms of the King of England was taken down.  John Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration who later became the nation’s second president, thought that Americans should celebrate with pomp, parade and all manner of bells, bonfires and illuminations.  The first anniversary was celebrated in Philadelphia in 1777 just as Adams had wanted.  Celebrating the Fourth of July grew over the years, and as people moved west during the 1800’s, they spread the idea to new towns and territories.  It was not long before the whole country was celebrating with parades, flags flying, shops and homes decorated with red, white and blue, bells ringing, and gun salutes.  By 1941, Congress had declared the Fourth of July a national legal holiday.  For some, it marks the true beginning of summer fun.  Beaches, parks and amusement areas are typically filled with holiday crowds. Picnics, B-B-Q’s, outdoor games, and mostly, everyone is anxious to see displays of fireworks which bring delight to children and adults alike.  At one time, however, fireworks caused so many accidents and injuries that the public demanded legislation to ensure a “safe and sane” holiday. Many cities and states have outlawed the private sale of fireworks and displays are controlled so that everyone may enjoy them in safety. Take care, be safe and have a most wonderful 4th of July!

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