July 4th - National Day in the United States
It is July 4th, one of the most historic days for the USA.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress had voted for the independence of the 13 American colonies, but only officially declared on July 4. As a result, from that summer day the colonies, united, free and independent states and no longer subject to the British King George the 3rd.
The Independence Day, engl. Independence Day or colloquially known as "4th of July" is a public holiday in the United States of America. It is celebrated in memory of the declaration of independence on July 4, 1776.
History & background
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually took place on July 2nd. The 2nd Continental Congress passed an independence resolution that day, proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia in June. In this the United States was declared independent from the rule of Great Britain. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining that decision. It was prepared by a committee of five with soon-to-be US President Thomas Jefferson as the lead author. Congress debated and revised the text of the declaration, and finally adopted it two days later on July 4th. The day before, John Adams, one of the founding fathers, had written to his wife Abigail:
Adams's forecast was off by two days. From the beginning, Americans celebrated independence on July 4th, the date mentioned in the much-cited Declaration of Independence, rather than July 2nd, the day the Independence Resolution was passed in a closed session of Congress.
The evening before the fourth was once the focus of celebrations, which were marked by noisy gatherings. In New England, many cities competed to build towering pyramids made of barrels and barrels. These were lit at dusk to start the celebrations. The tallest bonfires ever recorded were in Salem, Massachusetts. These consisted of up to forty rows of barrels. The custom flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries and is still held today, especially in New England.
Independence Day is a national holiday in the United States that is marked by a lot of patriotism. In particular, many politicians make a point of appearing at a public event on the day to praise the heritage, laws, history, society, and people of the nation.
Families often celebrate Independence Day by having or attending a picnic or barbecue. Many use the day off and in some years a long weekend to meet up with relatives or friends. Decorations but also clothing are generally kept in the colors of the American flag (red, white and blue). Large and small parades are often held in the morning before family gatherings, while fireworks are held in the evening after dark in places like parks, fairs, or town squares.
At noon, a salute is fired from every capable military base. The salute consists of 13 shots from a cannon and applies to each of the founding states. It is also known as the "Salute to the Union".
The Independence Day fireworks on the evening of July 4th are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner", "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful" or "Stars and Stripes Forever". Some of the texts are reminiscent of images from the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.
New York City had the largest fireworks display in the country, with more than 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded in 2009. Other large fireworks are in Seattle on Lake Union, in San Diego over Mission Bay, in Boston on the Charles River, in Philadelphia over the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay and on the National Mall in Washington, DC
Travel on and on the 4th of July
The first week of July is usually one of the busiest travel times in the United States of the year, as many people take advantage of the often three-day holiday weekend for extensive vacation trips. So either plan your vacation before or after. But if you want to celebrate, be prepared for higher prices and congested streets.
We were in San Diego on July 4th, but had "slept through" the festivities as we had only arrived at the hotel quite late in the evening. The traffic in 2013 wasn't as bad as expected, most of them were certainly already partying by the time we were on the interstate 😉
Should we be in the USA again in June / July, we will certainly celebrate this day as it should!