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Have a Safe and Wonderful 4th Of July

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We want everyone to have a safe and wonderful 4th of July. Remember the Meaning and in celebration of our independence. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, AMERICA!

Happy Independence Day! Do you know what happened on this day in 1776? How did the founders envision our country’s celebration? Refresh your memory with the meaning of this all-important American holiday. Plus, enjoy some fun facts: What’s on the back of the Declaration of Independence? Was it signed on July 4? Why did John Hancock sign it with such large letters? Let’s find out!

 

WHEN IS INDEPENDENCE DAY THIS YEAR?

On the 4th of July, the United States observes a federal holiday in honor of the Declaration of Independence. This holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by delegates from the 13 colonies.

Note: If the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday, the federal observed holiday is the following Monday, July 5. If the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday, the observed holiday for most (but not all) federal employees is Friday, July 3.

Independence is declared; it must be maintained.
–Sam Houston, American politician (1793–1863)

The Declaration of Independence is America’s revolutionary Charter of Freedom and the document upon which the nation’s founding principles were established.

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS NOT OFFICIALLY SIGNED ON JULY 4

On April 19, 1775, during the Battles of Lexington and Concord (Mass.), the first shots were fired between colonists and British troops, starting the American Revolution. After these first military conflicts, tension between Britain and her American colonists continued to mount.

Finally, on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted for independence from Britain.

Two days later, on July 4, the Congress approved the final draft of the Declaration of Independence, which had been written by Thomas Jefferson and edited by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

On July 8, the first public reading of the Declaration took place at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Later that same day, other readings occurred in Trenton, New Jersey, and Easton, Pennsylvania.

Printer John Dunlap made about 200 copies of the Declaration, with the date of July 4. Known as the “Dunlap Broadsides,” these were distributed throughout the 13 colonies.

However, it wasn’t until August 2, 1776, that the Declaration was officially signed. John Hancock, president of the Congress, was the first of 56 delegates who signed this enlarged version, writing in big, bold letters.

On August 4, 1776, after delegates of the Continental Congress had signed the document, the Declaration of Independence was made official.

HOW DID OUR FOUNDERS ENVISION INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS?

John Adams considered July 2 to be the day when Americans actually declared their independence.

He envisioned the celebration to be one filled with fun, games, and fireworks—not an occasion for displaying military strength (as one might expect). On July 3, 1776, he wrote these words to his wife Abigail, capturing the spirit of the times:

“Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony ‘that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States might rightfully do…’

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable  Epocha, 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 solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

On July 18, 1777, an issue of the Virginia Gazette describes the July 4 celebration in Philadelphia:

“The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated. Every thing was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal.”

What’s really special about America’s celebration of freedom is it was quite different for its time, focusing on the joys of freedom. Many countries have emulated this spirit of celebration ever since.

REFRESH YOUR MEMORY: THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

The Declaration of Independence is one of the most important documents in the history of the United States. It was an official act taken by all 13 American colonies in declaring independence from British rule.

The document was originally written by Thomas Jefferson, but Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, along with Jefferson then worked together to make changes. The final draft of the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, but the actual signing of the final document took place on August 2, 1776.

Here is an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence (U.S. 1776):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We invite you to refresh your memory as an annual tradition. Read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration at www.archives.gov.

MORE FOURTH OF JULY HISTORY

  • July 4, 1776: Thomas Jefferson noted in his “Weather Memorandum Book” that the weather was cloudy, the temperature 76ºF.
  • July 4, 1826: Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson—signers of the Declaration of Independence who each later became president—died on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the declaration.
  • July 4, 1884: The Statue of Liberty was formally presented to the United States by the people of France.
  • July 4, 1911: It was a hot Fourth of July in New England. All-time state records were set in Nashua, New Hampshire (106°F), and Vernon, Vermont (105°F).

4TH OF JULY TRIVIA

While we celebrate with fireworks, let’s not forget the freedom that our founding fathers declared to the world over two centuries ago. Here are some fun facts you may not know about the holiday:

Q. Why is the name “John Hancock” synonymous with “your signature”?
A. Hancock’s bold signature on the Declaration of Independence dwarfed the signatures of the other signers. Legend says that Hancock wanted the king of England to see the rebellious signature without having to wear his spectacles!

Read more for all you History Buffs HERE

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