I hope that you’re sitting with friends and family enjoying a 4th of July barbeque, or some other “patriotic” delight. I have taken a few days off myself, but as a writer, I find it nearly impossible to avoid the allure of the Internet.
Although the majority of my readers are from the USA, I have readers visiting this blog and the Advice Sisters Relationships and Advice Website from all over the world. Many countries celebrate an Independance Day. The one the good people of the United States celebrate is July 4th.
Many people just consider July 4th as a day (this year, mid-week) to goof off. Others, especially the Nation’s veterans and other patriotic-minded people, lay wreaths at the memorials and graves of soldiers who died for the country’s freedom, or march in parade, or, in some cases, use the day to decorate with flags, and make noise with fireworks (please exercise reasonable caution if you must blow off fireworks–they are dangerous and in many states, quite illegal).
But back to the meaning of July 4th. Most schoolchildren know that On July 4, 1776, The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia after most members of the Congress had already signed it on July 2nd, 1776 (in total, all 56 members signed it) This date marks the “official” birth of a nation. Thomas Jefferson was the author of the first draft of the Declaration of Independence which begins: “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.”
From all accounts, the signing of the Declaration of Independence was a quiet affair compared to the Macy’s fireworks, parades, and massive traffic jams that this special day off now generates. There was apparently a parade of Battalions, a gun salute, and a public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776.
The next year, in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, they jazzed up the celebration to include bonfirs, bands playing patriotic music, gun salutes and fireworks. Apparently, each home in Philly displayed a candle in the front window. A fire hazard, perhaps, but a nice gesture!
Whatever you are planning for July 4th, please do it with safety and remember why we’re getting the day off in the USA.