Seasonal holidays like July 4th should give us reason to pause from our busy lives, for just a moment, and consider the tremendous sacrifices our ancestors made to get us where we are today. While not perfect, America is still a beacon for freedom and advancement.
Amidst the red, white and blue cupcakes, steaks and lemonade at Fourth of July parties across the country, there is a deeper meaning behind the celebration. In 1776, thirteen colony representatives got together and declared their desired independence from England. As a result, our country has celebrated the declaration, which eventually culminated in the colony’s formation of a country: The United States.
If it weren’t for our ancestor’s commitment to gaining freedom from their allegiance to the Crown, and the political connections amongst Britain and the colonies, the United States would likely look very differently from what it is today.
Recognized as a federal holiday since 1941, Independence Day celebrations existed long before. As far back as the 18th century, people were celebrating the momentous occasion. Prior to the declaration of independence, colonists celebrated the British King’s birthday by making speeches, ringing bells and having bonfires. In contrast, and after the declaration, colonists celebrated the occasion by holding mock funerals for the King or participated in festivities that included readings of the formal Declaration of Independence.
There is some dispute as to the exact date of the declaration. John Adams believed July 2 (the date that Congress voted on the resolution) to be the appropriate date to celebrate, and as such, turned down any invitations for the event that occurred on July 4 (the date it was formally adopted by Congress).
Regardless of the exact dates of the original events, it’s important to celebrate momentous occasions like this that dictated our country’s birth and direction. This July 4th, celebrate as you normally would, but take the time to affirm and remember the bold declaration that was made over 200 years ago.