Independence Day Tradition History

The Date: June 7, 1776

The Place: Pennsylvania State House 
                 Later to be known as Independence Hall

The Event: Second Continental Congress Is In Session

The Purpose Of The Event: The Call For Independence

Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee Introduced a motion calling for the colonies independence from Great Britian's rule. After heated debate the Congress postponed the vote on the proposal and appointed a five man committee to draft a formal document rationalizing this break away from the "homeland." These men included Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York, John Adams of Massachusetts and Virginian Thomas Jefferson.

25 days later, On July 2nd the Second Continental Congress took the vote on Lee's resolution for independence from England voting in favor of Lee's resolution in a near-unanimous vote, the New York delegation abstaining, but later voted in favor of. On this day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail back at home in Boston, Massachusetts that July 2nd "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. Although the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd .. from then on the 4th, the day the resolution was ceremoniously ratified, became the day that was celebrated as the birth of The United States of America.

In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held celebrations annually commemorating the king's birthday, traditionally including the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speech making.

The summer of '76 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence exuberant in a never before seen triumph of liberty over English expansion by holding mock funerals for King George III, symbolizing the end of the monarch's hold on and the rule of the colonies. A bit premature some might argue as armed hostilities were just over the horizon at this point. Celebrations included concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of muskets and cannons usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence beginning immediately after its adoption.

On July 4, 1777 Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence even though the young nation was still occupied with the ongoing war. George Washington helped to mark the occasion by issuing  double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778. In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to establish July 4th an official state holiday… quite a few months before the key American victory at Yorktown.

Post Revolutionary War Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year and the new tradition spread out over the land from big cities to small towns to settlements as the years went on. The celebrations allowed the new nation's politicians to address citizens in an attempt to create unity while the nation was in its infancy. A tactic felt needed especially during the War of 1812. By the end of the 18th century, the two emerging major political parties, Democratic-Republicans and Federalists began holding separate Independence Day celebrations in many large cities.

It wasn’t until 1870 the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday. In 1941 the holiday was ammended to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees. The importance of the holiday politically would decline over the years as the United States of America matured but July 4th Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

Smokies Park - AA, For Chicago Cubs
Since the late 19th century July 4th has become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers often involving going to a baseball game or a park for the day, outdoor grilling and early evening firework displays. Many patriotic songs are heard during festivals and on radio stations across all 50 states. Songs such as The Star Spangled Banner (the national anthem), America The Beautiful, Proud To Be An American and military branches’ anthems to name a but a few of the songs rendered during this early mid-summer time of the year. The most common family traditions of the holiday is the nation’s colors of red, white and blue being displayed in varying manners, flying the American flag, displaying images of The Statue of Liberty or another and most recognized national symbol, the bald eagle.

All in celebration of the birth of a republic that began by one man's proposal in the city of Philadelphia on June 7th, accepted by his constituents on July 2nd and established on July 4, 1776.

God Bless America.
And God Bless You!

Fly Your Colors Proudly.
Present Your
Colors Respectfully.
We Are Americans!
Of Many One!

This message approved by this
U.S. Marine Corps veteran!

In an effort to eradicate ignorance
on how to properly display the U.S. flag, presented here is the
U.S. Flag Code.

Rocky's Trading Stump

Be Safe This Weekend!

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- Published 07/03/2011