Independence Day – July 4th – Let’s Celebrate!

Firstly – a quick note – this post was supposed to upload Friday July 3rd – however I have been experiencing some major server issues – so apologies for being a bit late! I hope you enjoy this post anyway.

This weekend is the 4th of July weekend – celebrating Independence Day – probably the biggest holiday celebration in the US and the city of Sherman kicked it off last night with a big party at a local park where there was live music, food, activities and of course the fireworks display.

OK, so the 4th of July is a big deal in the US. It is day of immense national pride celebrating freedom and liberty. It is traditionally a big weekend full of family, food, sporting events, parades and, of course, fireworks! Last night (Thursday 2nd July) we watched a spectacular display from our balcony. Tomorrow we are off to a 4th of July pool party!

The American Eagle (this one sits on the entrance to the main building at Ellis Island )

The American Eagle (this one sits on the entrance to the main building at Ellis Island)

Technically, the 4th of July marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed the United States independence from Great Britain on that date in 1776. Independence Day was born from the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), also known as the American War of Independence or the Revolutionary War, between Great Britain and 13 of it’s former North American colonies, which had declared themselves the independent United States of America. The war had its roots in Americans resistance to taxes imposed by the British parliament, which ultimately resulted in the Boston Tea Party. This war also pulled in France, Spain and the Netherlands who all aligned themselves with the American colonies.

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

When the revolutionary war broke out in 1775, there were few colonists that wanted complete independence from Great Britain. However, by the middle of the following year hostility towards Britain was growing and more came to favour the idea of independence. When congress met in June of 1776, Richard Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence. The vote was postponed, but a five-man committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert R. Livingston was formed to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain. On July 2nd 1776, Congress voted (in a near-unanimous vote) in favour of Lee’s resolution and on July 4th, formally adopted the Declaration of Independence (which had been written largely by Jefferson). Some believe that July 2nd is truly Independence Day, with John Adams at the time declaring that July 2nd  “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

It wasn’t until 1870 that Congress declared July 4th a federal holiday.

A note on fireworks in the USA: Regulations governing the sale of Fireworks vary widely from state to state (and even county to county), and include not only the types of fireworks, but also when fireworks may be sold. In Texas, you can let off fireworks year-round, but there are only 2 occasions throughout the year when you can legally purchase fireworks; June 24 to midnight July 4 and December 20 to midnight of Jan 1.

Generally speaking fireworks are illegal in Australia. Sparklers are allowed, but anything that is airborne or explodes you would need a special licence for.

So, Happy 239th Birthday America!

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