When you think about summer holidays, what is the first thing that comes to mind? I tend to gravitate more toward the 4th of July. Why not? My reasoning is this … there is significance to the meaning behind the holiday, there are celebrations galore, and there is always delicious food involved. What can I say?
Independence Day (aka 4th of July) is that first week of July that tends to be one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Families like to take advantage of extending vacation time a bit while the kids are out of school. It is also an opportunity to have a paid day off (for most businesses). It is also a great time to gather the family in order to celebrate the birth of our nation.
Significance of the holiday
This holiday commemorates the Declaration of Independence of the United States from Britain, which took place on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain, but were now united, free, and independent states. The Congress had actually voted to declare independence two days earlier, but it was not actually declared until July 4th. The Declaration of Independence document is a statement explaining the decision. It had been prepared by a committee of five men (John Adams – MA, Roger Sherman – CT, Benjamin Franklin – PA, Robert Livingston – NY, Thomas Jefferson – VA), with Thomas Jefferson being the principal author. The original copy of the document is housed in the National Archives in Washington D.C. if you ever want to see it. Here is a fun fact for you … Signers of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both went on to serve as Presidents of the United States, and died on the same day, July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the declaration.
Ways people celebrate
Many politicians will make a point on this day to appear at a public event. Over the years, the President of the United States has done various activities. In recent years they have watched fireworks from the White House balcony, hosted naturalization ceremonies, visited military troops, played golf, or fired up the barbeque pit for members of the US Armed Forces. Most American families celebrate with various outdoor activities such as fireworks, family reunions, concerts, barbeques, picnics, parades, baseball games, homemade ice cream, flying a flag, wearing patriotic apparel, and decorating their homes. I personally love fireworks, but since they are banned in my town I leave it up to the professionals so I can just enjoy the displays.
My Family Traditions
I love everything that surrounds the meaning of this holiday, as well as my own traditions and celebrations with my family. I live in a relatively small town, and they love to do it up big! We have a park close to my house that hosts “Freedom Fest”, which brings thousands of people to our city. Events cover both July 3rd and July 4th, and include:
- Tribute to Veterans
- Free concerts
- Fireworks on both nights
- Cherry Bomb Triathlon
- Car show
- Free swim at the city pool
- Hot dog eating contest
- Children’s parade through the park
- Local vendors provide free ice cream and watermelon on the 4th
- Philharmonic on the 4th plays until fireworks display
My family usually gathers at our house on the 3rd for a cookout, and we watch the fireworks display from our driveway since we live right by the park. On the 4th we like to actually fight the crowds to spend the late afternoon and evening in the park. The Philharmonic is amazing, and we are blessed by the fact it is a free concert.
Make sure you look for family-friendly events near you! Make it a memory that all of your family will enjoy! Don’t forget the sunscreen!
As a Web Merchandiser for Mardel, I write on Gifts, Jewelry, and Apparel for our web site. I write from the heart of being a wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and Women’s Ministry Coordinator at my church. More than anything else, I love the Lord.