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America’s 4th of July

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I love the 4th of July!  The fun family times, amazing sense of community, immense amount of tradition and pageantry, the friends, food, fireworks, etc.  I could go on and on with my affection for this flag honoring holiday.  But what I love the most is the American pride shown EVERYWHERE.  You can’t miss the red, white and blue for a second.  And it’s wonderful!  To see this, especially in an election year, makes me beyond happy.  We can all put politics aside for one day, and rejoice in this amazing country of ours.  There is a lot to love about America:  Liberty, Freedom, Diversity, Beauty (think National Parks) and Opportunity to name a few.  But how does this tie back to the 4th of July, and why did this day become a holiday?   Enjoy this bit of American History!

America’s Independence

We celebrate America’s Independence on the Fourth of July every year, assuming that July 4, 1776 is the day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

But July 4, 1776 was not the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).  Nor was it the day we started the American Revolution (that happened earlier in April 1775).

And it wasn’t the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed either (that was August 2, 1776).  Some might argue our Independence Day celebration should actually be on August 2nd every year, not July 4th.

So what actually happened on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.)

When did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?

For the first 15 or 20 years after the Declaration was written, people didn’t celebrate it too much. Although, interestingly enough, ever since the first anniversary in 1777, because of John Adams’ love for fireworks, they have been a big part of annual celebrations.

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

[excerpts from ConstitutionFacts]

June 28, 2016

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