Happy July 4th!

July 4th — Then and Now

Freedom spread across our new-born nation,
Independence sparked and stirred imagination,
Declarations read aloud,
In cities strong and proud,
Marked by cheers and welcomed celebration.

Today, parades and picnics mark the occasion,
Fireworks fill the sky with colorful elation,
Remembering yesteryear,
For what we fought so dear,
Pride fills our hearts with patriotic jubilation.

July 4th.  The day we celebrate America declaring its independence from Britain in 1776 has many customs familiar to most people.  Fireworks, parades, picnics, and other festivities are just a few that mark the patriotic occasion nowadays.  But what lesser known events transpired long ago that add to this festive national holiday?

  • During the summer of 1776, colonists created mock funerals of King George III, illustrating the end ofBritain’s grip onAmerica.
  • The U.S. Congress declared July 4th a national holiday in 1870.
  • The Declaration of Independence was read aloud in major cities across the colonies, met with cheers and fireworks.
  • Fireworks were originally an invention of ancient China, using a combination of gunpowder stuffed into bamboo sticks, all of which were thrown in to fire.  The explosive elements were later brought over to Italy by explorer Marco Polo where chemicals were added to give the fireworks their color.  They eventually made their way to theNew World(the colonies), when settlers used them to amaze or fend off Native Americans.
  • Celebrations, although modest at first, became more noticeable after the War of 1812.  In Boston, the Boston Pops Orchestra ends each July 4th musical celebration with the 1812 Overture.

These historical references not only provide great patriotic perspective, but add substance to festive activities that people may not be aware of.  This 4th of july, wear your red, white, and blue proudly as you celebrate with family and friends, remembering the journey that our nation took toward its independence.