The 4th of July: Barbecues, Fireworks, and Freedom
Independence Day, or as most of us call it, the Fourth of July, is next Thursday, folks. As you know, the holiday was created in celebration of the signing and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring America’s freedom from Great Britain. We Americans celebrate this day every year with patriotic displays of fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, baseball games, family reunions, and the occasional quiet introspection about the sacrifices our ancestors made and the greatness they achieved.
A little known fact is that America actually legally separated from Britain on July 2, 1776, when the 2nd Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. John Adams, who would go on to become our second president, even wrote to his wife saying:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
The Declaration of Independence, written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, with help from Sherman, Franklin, Adams, and Livingston, was in fact a document that explained the nation’s decision to separate from Great Britain. Because the adoption of the resolution happened during a closed session of Congress, while the signing of the Declaration was a much publicized affair, Americans quickly took to celebrating the 4th of July instead as our national day of independence.
And here we are, years later. A beautiful, proud, and successful nation. With halcyon skies and amber waves, America is about to celebrate its 237th birthday. It’s quite common on this day to dress everything up in the American color set of red, white, and blue on this day. Everything. The streamers (after all, it’s not a party without streamers), clothing, pastries, and a whole host of other things; everywhere you go the general decor is pure America. You can even see a few people in the streets dressed up as Uncle Sam.
There are many different ways to celebrate this patriotic day. Some visit parades and host parties. Others visit American institutions to learn and celebrate our history, like the local history museum, or even the various American national parks and monuments. I personally love the family reunion my grandparents hold every year, complete with a sizzling backyard barbecue in the cool evening air. And, of course, the fireworks. I love the fireworks. It’s a complete light show at night.
Even as we celebrate though, we should take care to remember why we celebrate the 4th of July at all; because of Freedom, and in memory of our forefathers who fought for and successfully won our independence, and in memory of those who have fought to defend our freedom ever since. America the beautiful, forever.
How do you plan to celebrate the 4th of July? By being as American as possible, I hope. Let us know in the comments below!