Wednesday, July 4, 2012


     On July 4th, I remember singing the patriotic songs, You’re a Grand, Old Flag and Yankee Doodle Dandy, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, and God Bless America at family gatherings. The evening was spent on the rooftop watching firework displays from Macy’s. We could see, in the distance, bursts of stars dressed in brilliant reds, yellows, greens, purples, and silver shooting high into the heavens, cascading through the air and slowly drifting away to make room for an ever more brilliant illumination of the night sky.
     I wonder what the Continental Congress would make of our celebration. On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia to draft a document that would officially break our ties with Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston were all on the committee. Jefferson thought to be the most powerful and expressive writer wrote the document—a total of 86 changes were made to his draft before the version we know today was adopted on July 4th.
     Music and the sound of bells and a bonfire added to the festivity on July 8, 1776 when the first public readings took place in Philadelphia’s
Independence Square
. Fireworks lit up the sky in 1777 and soon celebrations began to take place in other towns and cities and congress established Independence Day as a holiday in 1870. Today we celebrate with fireworks, parades, picnics, marches by John Philip Sousa who wrote the official American march The Stars and Stripes Forever and the singing of our national anthem—The Star Spangled Banner.
     This July 4th, we can look forward to Macy’s traditional firework display and join in via television when A Capitol 4th is presented. How do you spend Independence Day?
Happy July 4th.


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