We Still Celebrate Our Independence Day Like We Did in 1777

Love those "hats"!

1924

The March King's wife

Sousa is heard every 4th of July!

Immigrant 4th, 1926

Getting ready for a parade on the 4th

Oklahoma Territory 1898

To the moon . . . Ginger?

Is this Ginger Rogers riding a firecracker?

Dressed up 4th picnic, 1914

Preston Iowa Main Street Parade

1900

1941 - that's right, light a firecracker with a cigarette!

Safe and sane! :)

1936 - forget running with scissors . . .

This poster says you can lose an eye from firecrackers.

New York - the big parade

`1918

1920 Virginia

1812 Flag

The original "Old Glory" - the real Star Spangled Banner

1908 protest against privilege

This idea isn't new - nor is protesting.

Why the 4th of July? On July 2nd, 1776, America’s Continental Congress voted to separate from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4th, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence – written mainly by Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration, however, wasn’t signed until August 2nd of the same year. But since July 2nd was the day when the Continental Congress voted to declare independence, John Adams wrote to his wife that the 2nd of July “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade . . . Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

Why then do we celebrate the 4th instead of the 2nd? Because the custom of celebrating the Declaration rather than the actual decision became a custom early on. Previously, colonists had celebrated King George III’s birthday during the summer. In 1776, the King’s birthday wasn’t celebrated – rather, a mock funeral was held for him. And concerts, bonfires, parades, and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence. Then the next year, in 1777, Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4th. Even George Washington – the leader of the Revolutionary forces - issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary in 1778. And so, through time, the Declaration of Independence became the focus of celebrations – July 4th – rather than the actual birth of the nation – July 2nd. Custom is often stronger than the actual history!

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