Displays of fireworks, such as these over the Washington Monument in 1986, take place across the United States on Independence Day.
|Also called||The Fourth of July|
|Observed by||United States|
|Significance||The day in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress|
|Celebrations||Fireworks, family reunions, concerts, barbecues, picnics, parades, baseball games|
|Next time||July 4, 2021|
Independence Day (colloquially the Fourth of July or July 4) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject (and subordinate) to the monarch of Britain, King George III, and were now united, free, and independent states.The Congress had voted to declare independence two days earlier, on July 2, but it was not declared until July 4.
Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches, and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States.
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain's rule.After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
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.
Adams's prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.
Historians have long disputed whether members of Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed.
By a remarkable coincidence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only two signatories of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as presidents of the United States, both died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, Jefferson even mentioning the fact.(Only one other signatory, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, survived them, dying in 1832. ) Although not a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as president, also died on July 4, 1831. He was the third President who died on the anniversary of independence. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, was born on July 4, 1872; so far he is the only U.S. president to have been born on Independence Day.
Independence Day is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors. According to 5 U.S.C. § 6103, Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions (such as the postal service and federal courts) are closed on that day. Many politicians make it a point on this day to appear at a public event to praise the nation's heritage, laws, history, society, and people.[ citation needed ]
Families often celebrate Independence Day by hosting or attending a picnic or barbecue; many take advantage of the day off and, in some years, a long weekend to gather with relatives or friends. Decorations (e.g., streamers, balloons, and clothing) are generally colored red, white, and blue, the colors of the American flag. Parades are often held in the morning, before family get-togethers, while fireworks displays occur in the evening after dark at such places as parks, fairgrounds, or town squares.[ citation needed ]
The night before the Fourth was once the focal point of celebrations, marked by raucous gatherings often incorporating bonfires as their centerpiece. In New England, towns competed to build towering pyramids, assembled from barrels and casks. They were lit at nightfall to usher in the celebration. The highest were in Salem, Massachusetts, with pyramids composed of as many as forty tiers of barrels. These made the tallest bonfires ever recorded. The custom flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries and is still practiced in some New England towns.
Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner"; "God Bless America"; "America the Beautiful"; "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"; "This Land Is Your Land"; "Stars and Stripes Forever"; and, regionally, "Yankee Doodle" in northeastern states and "Dixie" in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.[ citation needed ]
Firework shows are held in many states, and many fireworks are sold for personal use or as an alternative to a public show. Safety concerns have led some states to ban fireworks or limit the sizes and types allowed. In addition, local and regional weather conditions may dictate whether the sale or use of fireworks in an area will be allowed. Some local or regional firework sales are limited or prohibited because of dry weather or other specific concerns. On these occasions the public may be prohibited from purchasing or discharging fireworks, but professional displays (such as those at sports events) may still take place, if certain safety precautions have been taken.[ citation needed ]
A salute of one gun for each state in the United States, called a "salute to the union," is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.
New York City has the largest fireworks display in the country sponsored by Macy's, with more than 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded in 2009.It generally holds displays in the East River. Other major displays are in Seattle on Lake Union; in San Diego over Mission Bay; in Boston on the Charles River; in Philadelphia over the Philadelphia Museum of Art; in San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay; and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
During the annual Windsor–Detroit International Freedom Festival, Detroit, Michigan hosts one of the largest fireworks displays in North America, over the Detroit River, to celebrate Independence Day in conjunction with Windsor, Ontario's celebration of Canada Day.
The first week of July is typically one of the busiest United States travel periods of the year, as many people use what is often a three-day holiday weekend for extended vacation trips.
In 1852, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave a speech now called "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?", at a time when slavery was still legal in Southern states, and free African-Americans elsewhere still faced discrimination and brutality. Douglass found the celebration of "justice, liberty, prosperity and independence" offensive to enslaved people who had none of those things. The Declaration of Independence famously asserts that "all men are created equal, but commentator Arielle Gray recommends that those celebrating the holiday consider how the freedom promised by the phrase "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" was not granted to African Americans denied citizenship and equal protection before the Fourteen Amendment, immigrants denied admission under the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese Americans interned during World War II, and others facing contemporary human rights violations. [ better source needed ]
The Philippines celebrates July 4 as its Republic Day to commemorate that day in 1946 when it ceased to be a U.S. territory and the United States officially recognized Philippine Independence.July 4 was intentionally chosen by the United States because it corresponds to its Independence Day, and this day was observed in the Philippines as Independence Day until 1962. In 1964, the name of the July 4 holiday was changed to Republic Day.
Rebild National Park in Denmark is said to hold the largest July 4 celebrations outside of the United States.
Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the national day of France, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In French, it is formally called Fête nationale and commonly and legally le 14 juillet.
The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts, specializing in light classical and popular music.
In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The Flag Resolution, passed on June 14, 1777, stated: "Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
The United States Bicentennial was a series of celebrations and observances during the mid-1970s that paid tribute to historical events leading up to the creation of the United States of America as an independent republic. It was a central event in the memory of the American Revolution. The Bicentennial culminated on Sunday, July 4, 1976, with the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
A national day is a day on which celebrations mark the nationhood of a nation or state. It may be the date of independence, of becoming a republic, or a significant date for a patron saint or a ruler. The national day is often a public holiday. Many countries have more than one national day. Denmark and the United Kingdom are the two countries that do not have designated national days.
A 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized of the customary gun salutes that are performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honor. As naval customs evolved, 21 guns came to be fired for heads of state, or in exceptional circumstances for heads of government, with the number decreasing with the rank of the recipient of the honor. While the 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized, the number of rounds fired in any given salute will vary depending on the conditions. Circumstances affecting these variations include the particular occasion and, in the case of military and state funerals, the branch of service, and rank of the person to whom honors are being rendered.
Many nations around the world observe some kind of Armed Forces Day to honor their military forces.
Republic Day is a national holiday in India. It honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India and thus, turning the nation into a newly formed republic.
Independence Day is celebrated annually on 15 August as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation's independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the day when the provisions of the 1947 Indian Independence Act, which transferred legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly, came into effect. India retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to a full republic, when the nation adopted the Constitution of India on 26 January 1950 and replaced the dominion prefix, Dominion of India, with the enactment of the sovereign law Constitution of India. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely non-violent resistance and civil disobedience.
Rebild municipality is a municipality in North Jutland Region in Denmark. It covers an area of 628 km² and a total population of 28,753 (2008).
Independence Day is an annual national holiday in the Philippines observed on June 12, commemorating the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898.
Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It is sometimes called American Thanksgiving to distinguish it from the Canadian holiday of the same name. It originated as a harvest festival, and the centerpiece of Thanksgiving celebrations remains Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner traditionally consists of foods and dishes indigenous to the Americas, namely turkey, potatoes, stuffing, squash, corn (maize), green beans, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Other Thanksgiving customs include charitable organizations offering Thanksgiving dinner for the poor, attending religious services, watching parades, and viewing football games. In American culture Thanksgiving is regarded as the beginning of the fall–winter holiday season, which includes Christmas and the New Year.
A Capitol Fourth is an annual Independence Day concert special broadcast by PBS. The special is presented from the west lawn of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and is also simulcast by NPR and the American Forces Network.
Disney's Celebrate America is a seasonal fireworks show that premiered on July 3, 2008 at the Magic Kingdom theme park in the Walt Disney World outside Orlando, Florida, on July 4 of that same year at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and on July 1, 2011 at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California. The 15-minute show, produced by Walt Disney Creative Entertainment under creative director Steve Davison, celebrates the traditions, spirit and music of the United States of America, and is shown in lieu of the regular fireworks shows on both July 3 and 4 at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and Disney California Adventure. While these parks use the same soundtrack, the fireworks used are different, due to Anaheim's fireworks laws being more strict. This is the first time in history that Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Disney California Adventure share similar fireworks shows.
The following are minor or locally celebrated holidays related to the American Revolution.
Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5. The date is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza. The victory of the smaller Mexican force against a larger French force was a boost to morale for the Mexicans. Zaragoza died months after the battle due to illness. A year after the battle, a larger French force defeated the Mexican army at the Second Battle of Puebla, and Mexico City soon fell to the invaders.
Independence Day of the Republic of Belarus, also known as Republic Day or Liberation Day is a public holiday, the independence day of Belarus and is celebrated each year on 3 July. Independence Day is a non-working day.
The National Independence Day Parade also known as the July 4 Parade is an annual military & civilian parade in the National Capital Region of the United States that is held on the occasion of the Fourth of July holiday. It is the largest and foremost parade held in the United States during the holiday celebrations. It has historically taken place on the capital's Constitution Avenue and usually goes past many national monuments until the parade one mile parade route ends at 17th Street. The 2 hour parade includes Government nominated marching bands, military units, floats, balloons, equestrian units, drill teams, celebrities, and VIP's. The parade is sponsored and co-produced by Music Celebrations International and the National Park Service, which organizes the parade events. Annual performers and contingents include the 257th Army Band, the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the joint-service honor guard battalion of the Joint Force Headquarters National Capital Region, officers of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, representatives of the foreign expatriate communities and the Government nominated representatives of the high schools and colleges and cultural groups inside the DCPS and from each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the federal overseas dependencies.
The 2019 Salute to America was an event arranged by the Trump administration held on Independence Day, July 4, 2019, in Washington, D.C. It took place at the National Mall and included presentations of U.S. military vehicles, an address by President Donald Trump from the Lincoln Memorial, flyovers by military aircraft, and a fireworks display. The event occurred alongside pre-existing annual Independence Day events such as the National Independence Day Parade and the PBS-televised A Capitol Fourth concert. It was the first time a U.S. president had addressed a crowd at the National Mall on Independence Day in 68 years.
South Dakota's Mount Rushmore Fireworks Celebration 2020 was a fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore held on July 3, 2020, the day before Independence Day. It was notable for featuring the first use of fireworks at the site since 2008 and for being held amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
On the following day, when the formal vote of Congress was taken, the resolutions were approved by twelve Colonies–all except New York. The original Colonies, therefore, became the United States of America on July 2, 1776.
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