The world watches the US of A today, as America celebrates 4th of July. What’s that all about, we sometimes wonder. Yes, we have friends that might invite us for a barbeque. But what’s the underlying reason to be so cheerful?
Today is also known as ‘Independence Day’ because it was on 4th July, 1776, that members of the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the final draft of the ‘Declaration of Independence’. That is, the independence of the ‘Thirteen United Colonies’ from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Following its adoption, the Declaration was read to the public in various American cities. Whenever they heard it, patriots erupted in cheers and celebrations. A year later, in 1777, Philadelphians remembered the 4th of July. Bells were rung, guns fired, candles lit, and firecrackers set off. However, while the ‘War of Independence’ dragged on, 4th July celebrations were modest at best.
When that war ended, however, in 1783, 4th July became a holiday in some places. In Boston for instance it replaced the date of the Boston Massacre, 5th March, as the major patriotic holiday. Speeches, military events, parades, and fireworks marked the day.
In 1941, the US Congress declared 4th July a federal holiday.
We are happy for our American friends on this day and wish them happiness all-round.
It may be time for some of our British friends, to sometime soon perhaps consider a Declaration of Independence from their Great Atlantic Ally. Then we could all celebrate.