Get ready to have a blast this July 4th! This holiday isn't just about parades, picnics and fireworks, though, it has an underlying meaning that lies at the core of the United States foundation. It is celebrated in all states and territories of the U.S., and for good reason. Let's find out why.
In the 1770's the U.S. consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of England's King George III. The colonists were unhappy with the way they were being ruled. They were being forced to pay a tax to England and they had no one over in England standing up for them. Because of the colonist’s unrest, King George sent troops over to the colonies to help control any rebellion. In 1775 the King's troops advanced on Concord, Massachusetts and it was there that the first bullet was shot. It was referred to as the "shot heard round the world," and it marked the unofficial beginning of the colonies war for independence.
At this point the newly appointed Congress had not formally declared war, but by June 1776, their efforts to work out their differences with England failed. They decided to form a committee which would compose a formal declaration of independence. This committee included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman. Thomas Jefferson was chosen to write the first draft which after various changes was accepted on July 4, 1776 by nine out of the thirteen states. To make it official, John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, making it legal.
The first holiday was first observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776, but it was not declared a legal holiday until 1941. It is celebrated publicly with parades, pageants, and fireworks to symbolize the fight for independence from England. On the Fourth of July we remember who we are, where we've come from and what we've accomplished as a people. It's an amazing fact of American history and one that we'll never forget, as long as we continue our Fourth of July celebrations.
Be sure to remember all the men and women who have fought (and continue to fight) for this great country. They have sacrificed so much and deserve our heartfelt thanks!
Have a great 4th!