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History of July 4th

I know this is a busy day for most of us. I just thought it would be a good idea to post about the history of this great day we celebrate.

Take a minute and remember why we celebrate the 4th of July.US flaf 10

I borrowed this article for our history lesson for the day from: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th

The Birth of American Independence

When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical. By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in Thomas Paine’s bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published in early 1776. On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence. Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee–including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York–to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.

Did You Know?   John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826–the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” On July 4th, the Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

Early Fourth of July Celebrations

In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty. Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war. George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties–Federalists and Democratic-Republicans–that had arisen began holding separate Independence Day celebrations in many large cities.

July 4th Becomes A National Holiday

The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees. Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.

Have a fantastic day. Love and respect the country we live in. Remember it wasn’t an easy path to get here. Please be safe, enjoy your loved ones have fun and enjoy this great country.fireworks

 

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6 Steps For Your July 4th Party

fireworksI’m sure most of us have plans for next weekend. Yep, that’s right, Independence Day is next Saturday. It snuck up on me too.

I want to help you plan your get together. Here are some steps to make your event smooth and easy.

This if for a small gathering at your house.

Make lists: Menu list: Food to serve, or make it pot luck and you provide the main dish. Drinks: What you will have, what you want your guests to bring. Purchase list: Ice, napkins, plates, cups, silverware (plastic), trash bags, food, drinks, Citronella candles, and bug spray.

Invites: Social media, e-mails, phone calls, texts…all should be taken care of by this Wednesday at the latest. When you send out invites make sure you inform your guests that they will need to bring (fill in the blank)

Clean up before: Make sure the house is tidy. Especially the bathrooms. Leave extra toilet paper out for your guest (keeps them from snooping).

Empty all trash cans. Have a trash can set outside too. Makes for easy clean-up.

Clean off lawn furniture, mow the yard.

Try to have all of this done by Friday. It will make things easier for you on Saturday.

Prep time: I suggest on Friday you prep as much of the food as possible and set up the seating for outside.

Do a once over for the house, tidy up and make sure that the extra toilet paper and trash bags are were your guest can get to them.

Go Time: The day of your gathering will be busy before your guests arrive. Start putting things together a couple of hours before they arrive.

Start cooking. You can always reheat or keep things warm in the oven.

Make sure you have a table or two for the food. You may even need a power-strip for those guests that may bring a crock-pot. Make sure you put the plates, napkins and silverware out for everyone to grab and go.

Have a designated spot for drinks, coolers, ice and cups.

ENJOY: you have set up a wonderful gathering for friends and family. Now go and enjoy all the hard work and have fun visiting with the people you love. Don’t forget to be safe with your personal fireworks.

I hope these steps have helped you plan your 4th of July party. Don’t forget the real reason we have an Independence Day.

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