July 4th – More than just a Calendar Day
July 4th marks the 240th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America. It was the day that the Continental Congress actually approved the Declaration of Independence with all of its final edits of the draft Thomas Jefferson had delivered a few days earlier. With that final draft, the signers dated the document July 4, 1776, and that was the date that became etched in everyone’s memories.
There was heated controversy over the Declaration of Independence for several years after it was written, but by the late 1820s, copies were being recirculated, and it became more common to come across Independence Day celebrations. In 1870, Congress finally passed a bill that declared several occasions as national holidays, including the Fourth of July.
Learn more about America’s celebration of this special day in United States history.
Why Do People Light Fireworks on Independence Day?
Many people would say that you aren’t properly celebrating the Fourth if you don’t watch a fireworks display. But why exactly do we watch fireworks on Independence Day? How did this all start?
Just before the ratification of the Declaration, John Adams predicted that celebrations would continue to mark every Fourth of July for the rest of time, and he firmly believed that was how it should be. In a letter to his wife, he wrote that the day “ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”
And his prediction proved true. The first fireworks were actually set off on July 4th, 1777, exactly one year after the final signing. Although the display was rough and small compared to shows today, they still fired off rockets and even arranged the fireworks to light up the sky with patriotic figures. Today, over 14,000 fireworks displays are shown across the country, including more than 200 million pounds of fireworks.
Celebrations of Independence across the States
Just like John Adams wanted, traditional July 4th celebrations include barbecues, picnics, parades, and fireworks that are anything but quiet. The theme of the day is freedom, and you’ll see the nation’s colors of red, white, and blue at every turn. Although you’ll run into patriotism and celebrations pretty much everywhere you go, there are a few places around the country that offer a little more pizzaz.
Washington, D.C. Millions of people lay their lawn chairs and picnic blankets out on the grass of the national Mall to watch the incredible fireworks display over the nation’s capital. Leading up to the event, you can tour the numerous museums, monuments, and galleries that are all within walking distance. What better way to celebrate the nation than by viewing vehicles, inventions, and emotional memorabilia from all areas of its history?
Nashville, Tennessee hosts a “Let Freedom Sing” celebration every year. This free celebration usually features various music superstars and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. To top it all off, the evening presents an incredible fireworks display that is one of the biggest in the nation. If you are a music lover, Tennessee might be the perfect place to take a trip to this Fourth of July.
New York, New York Another one of the country’s largest fireworks displays is held in New York City. Over 2 million people gather here each year to watch the Macy’s Firework Spectacular. This year will be the 35th annual celebration held by Macy’s on the 4th. Usually, four barges will set up on the river and shoot off the fireworks. The fire department will also set up their own display, shooting red, blue, and clear water across the river.
Celebrate the 4th of July with Us!
Low VA Rates is contributing to some awesome festivities this year in Pleasant Grove, Utah, called Follow the Flag. If you’re in the area, come stop by Grove Creek Trail where there will be activities, speeches, and performances all week. To know more about the event and Low VA Rates, visit our blog.