In a post pandemic environment, the 4th of July may not look like it has in the past. Picnics, large gatherings with fireworks and parties may not be an option. Why not take some time to understand more about the holiday and look for new ways to revel.
The 4th of July, or Independence Day was formally instituted in 1941, but the celebration dates back to the 18th century when in 1776 congress voted in favor of independence. Americans during that time were oppressed by Britain and were looking to cut governmental ties to become an independent nation. The Declaration of Independence was written by Thomas Jefferson as “an expression of the American mind.” On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to declare independence with the document, then printed and distributed the proclamation across the U.S. and to the King of Britain. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American Independence with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades, concerts and family gatherings across the U.S.
John Adams once declared “that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other,” while other historical characters came up with creative ways to celebrate themselves:
· Early colonists celebrated by holding a mock funeral for King George III as a way of symbolizing the death of oppression.
· Early festivities included the reading of the Declaration of Independence.
· George Washington gave double rations of rum to all of his soldiers to celebrate.
· Fireworks began in Philadelphia with a sparkling celebration followed by a 13 gun salute to symbolize the 13 colonies and continued catching like wildfire across the states after.
· In 1941 the U.S. Congress granted a paid holiday to all federal employees, thus starting the family celebrations and BBQ’s we know today.
Although the political importance of Independence Day has softened, and our current distancing measures will keep many from community celebrations, there are still plenty of ways you can express your patriotism and celebrate the freedoms that we share. Choose one or all of these celebration tips to make July 4, 2020 a sparkling and memorable holiday.
· Read the Declaration of Independence and share it with friends over email or social media.
· July 4th is just one of many Flag days where people display the American flag.
· Get back to nature. Local travel may be a healthy alternative this year as you look for ways to make the holiday memorable.
· In place of a family BBQ, support a local restaurant with pick up orders. Treat other family members or even your neighbors with a surprise meal.
· Organize a neighborhood Sparklers at Seven, where everyone lights sparklers out in the driveway or apartment deck at 7:00pm to celebrate community and freedom.
· Decorate your home and yard with Red, White and Blue.
· Sing The Star Spangled Banner, the official anthem of the United States since 1931. If you play an instrument, play the song outside where others can hear.
Community has always been an integral part of 4th of July with parades and city fireworks events. This year, we will all have to be creative to create community. Even with social distancing, we can find ways to celebrate, share and enjoy the independence we have as a people. Let freedom ring in 2020!
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