It can be argued that the Fourth of July celebration is the bedrock of the American experience. It is the common date that holds true to our very beginnings as a republic. That date is what we celebrate as the first of the stepping stones on our road to separation and freedom from the tyranny of the English Crown and commerce.
July Fourth our Independence Day!
Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually 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.
In 1778, General George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, in Paris, France, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner in honor of their fellow Americans.
In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872, and, so far, is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.
In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
In 1870, the United States Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for all regular federal employees. In 1938, Congress revisited the issue and changed Independence Day to a paid holiday.
Independence Day a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, fourth of July celebrations often take place outdoors. 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.
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. Illicit traffic transfers many fireworks from less restrictive states. 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 all capable military base.
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