The Fourth

Regarding birthdays, we like to make a big deal about people remembering to celebrate them.  Even if some people claim to want to ignore their birthday, they’re upset if you actually do forget their special day.  The same goes for the United States.  There are no belated 4th of July cards for sale.  Just don’t forget the birthday party, as if you can. 

There will be capsulized, short history lessons about the nation’s forefathers and the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. 

Most towns in the USA will feature parades with bands playing patriotic music and floats festooned with red, white and blue bunting.  This is one of the few times I can use the word “bunting” in a blog post.

There might be depictions of historic figures with men and boys dressed in 1776 garb and three cornered hats.  Women and girls might appear as Martha Washington or Betsy Ross wannabes.

Families and friends will gather in homes and parks for get-togethers, reunions and picnics.

Most folks disregard the rest and just go ape over the fireworks displays.

Has it been this way ever since 1776? 

Actually, in 1776, there was a revolution taking place.  Besides the speechifying and bonfires, there were mock funerals for King George III.  Fireworks were not used because of the need to conserve gunpowder for the weapons of war.

The first celebration of the fourth was in 1777 in Philadelphia.  General George Washington ordered double rations of rum to be issued to his soldiers on July 4, 1778 and again in 1781.

The first state to make the date an official state holiday was Massachusetts.  At war’s end, more citizens celebrated Independence Day with political speeches.  The two major parties, the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists held their own celebrations in the bigger cities.

Once again, the foe was Great Britain during the War of 1812. Patriotic fervor reached a fever pitch with July 4th celebrations taking place after that war.  Finally, Congress legally made the Fourth a federal holiday in 1870.  It became a paid holiday off to Federal employees in 1941.

I guess we could say that, aside from mock funerals and bonfires, the Fourth of July has been pretty much celebrated the same way since the founding of the republic.  Things are just a bit more high tech, these days.


The Blue Jay of Happiness notes that President John Adams considered July second to be the correct day to celebrate Independence from Britain.  It was July 2, 1776 that “The Resolution for Independency”,  aka the “Lee Resolution”, was approved by the Continental Congress.

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
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