The Fourth of July 2021 is on Sunday, July 4, 2021 and the federal holiday will be observed Monday, July 5, 2021.
The Fourth of July, aka USA’s Independence Day has been a federal holiday in the United States since Y 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.
On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
From Y 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
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 yr 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 the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early Y 1776.
LTN’s resident Pennsylvania and US history buff Bruce WD Barren reminds us that 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.
And during a heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a 5-man committee that included 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.
On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Mr. Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote. 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 Continental 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.
George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in Ys 1778, and in 1781, several months before the Key American victory at the Battle of Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.
The first fireworks were used as early as 200 BC. The tradition of setting off fireworks on the 4 of July began in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, during the first organized celebration of Independence Day. Ship’s cannon fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported: “at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.”
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain.
In Y 1870, the USCongress made July 4th a federal holiday, and in Y 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 remains a very 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 positive holiday weekend, Keep the Faith!