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Independence  Day
AKA:   July Fourth  -  July 4th  -  Fourth of July  -  4th of July
  Last updated June, 2007.

TimeLine  -  Notable Events  -  Trivia  -  A Poem  -  Quotes  -  4th of July Links

Independence Day is the celebration of liberty, of a nation founded upon liberty.
The Fourth of July celebrates America.
We honor the sacrifices of the founding fathers and other of their contemporaries who
financed, fought, worked and died to create a new nation accountable to the people.
Organized celebrations include, parades, oratories by politicians, community group events, picnics and barbeques, many culminating at dusk with a fireworks display.
Pyrotechnic Displays are usually within a couple hours drive of most Americans with the most popular transmitted on live television. Picnics and Barbeques bring families together remembering that it is liberty that keeps our communities together. Though use of an actual flag, being made into or sewn onto clothing is prohibited, many designs (that may include the flag image) are created and applied to clothing for the purpose of displaying patriotism.

America's Independence Day has its origins in the American Revolutionary War and American History.
The Declaration of Independence is the primary document, revered by American citizens.
TimeLine   of   Independence Day
~ Several internal and external taxes and tariffs are imposed by the British Parliament that outrages the colonial citizens.
1773 Dec. Outraged by "Taxation without Representation" the Sons of Liberty responds with the Boston Tea Party; dumping 342 chests of tea overboard into Boston Harbor.
1774 Sep. Virginia took the lead in organizing a continental congress to represent the colonies.
The First Continental Congress met to discuss a united action of grievances to be sent to King George III.
1775 April
Armed conflicts between the British and the colonists occur on April 19th 1775.
- See the poem "Liberty Ride of Dawes, Revere."
1775 May
The Second Continental Congress convenes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 10th.
1776 June
A Resolution of Congress on June 7th is introduced by Richard Henry Lee that the body, ". . . declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from allegiance to or dependence on the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain..." 
1776 June
A five man Committee is selected, on June 11th, to draw up a draft of a declaration of independence to be considered by the Continental Congress.
1776 July
The five-man committee presents a draft of a declaration of independence for debate and revisions.
1776 July
The Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Continental Congress without final dissent on July 4th 1776 and signed on that date by John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress and the Secretary, Charles Thomson.
1776 July
The Declaration of Independence is read in the first two public readings on June 8th, 1776. Philadelphia Committee of Safety member, Colonel John Nixon, read the Declaration at Independence Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bells rang all day. In the evening, the Declaration was proclaimed before the militia on the Commons.  Public readings occurred the same day in Easton, PA and Trenton, New Jersey where Independence from England was heralded with the ringing of bells, bonfires and fireworks.
1776 July
The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence in New York, New York is delivered on July 10th.
1776 July
The first public readings of the Declaration in Boston, Massachusetts and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, take place on July 18th.
1776 July
   Williamsburg, Pennsylvania held a celebration on July 25th, 1776 with readings of the Declaration of Independence at the Capitol, the Courthouse and the Palace. The citizens showed acclaims for the militia parade, shooting of muskets and firing of cannons.
   In Trenton,
New Jersey the people and militia gathered to proclaim its independence.
   In the state of
New York the Declaration was read at the headquarters of each brigade of the continental army posted near or in New York city. The statue of King George III was tore down and the lead melted down for musket balls.
1776 July
In Baltimore, Maryland, on July 29th, a public reading of the Declaration takes place.
1776 Aug.
in Annapolis on 17 August at a convening of the convention, "unanimous" support of the tenets of the Declaration are expressed
1777 July
On July 4th, 1777 the first celebration of independence was held in Bristol, Rhode Island. Thirteen guns were fired at morning and again as evening fell. Bristol still holds the celebration today with the distinction as the oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in America.
1777 July
Congress adjourns on July 4th, 1777 to celebrate the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania celebrated with bonfires, the ringing of bells and fireworks.
1777 July
   Captain Thompson invites citizens of Portsmouth, New Hampshire to lunch on his Continental frigate.
   Rev. William Gordon delivers the first religious sermon on Independence Day before the General Court of
Massachusetts in Boston.
1778 July
Addressing "a Publick Assembly of the Inhabitants" in Charleston, South Carolina David Ramsay delivers the first Independence Day oration.
1778 July
   General George Washington ordered an artillery salute and granted a double ration of rum for his troops to celebrate the second anniversary of declaring independence.
   A cannon captured from Burgoyne's army is used for an artillery salute in Princeton,
New Jersey
   Guns are fired and "sky rockets" are lunched into the air in Philadelphia.
   Without firing a shot Revolutionary troops over take the British and occupy Kaskaskia Island,
Illinois. George Rogers Clark rings a liberty bell as his troops secure the town.
American prisoners of war held captive at Mill Prison, near Plymouth, England, attach home-made American flags to wear on their hats, all day.
1778 July
In Passy, France, American gentlemen and ladies are invited to dinner, hosted by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
1778 July
The "4th of July" falls for the first time since independence on a Sunday, celebrations are held on or through Monday the 5th. The one day delay begins a tradition that has been honored 32 times between 1776 and 2007.
1781 ~ The Massachusetts legislature enacts the first official state holiday recognizing the Fourth of July in 1781.
1781 July
   The militia, at Newport, Rhode Island, host a celebration dinner inviting French officers.
1782 July
   The Continental Army "officers of the Regement" At Saratoga, New York celebrate with a "volley of Musquets at the end of each" toasts
1783 July
Boston, Massachusetts becomes the first city, in 1783, to vote to observe the Fourth of July; which in 1784 replaced the March 5th remembrance of the Boston Massacre. Boston's observance contributed to the making of July 4th an American tradition spreading to other cities and states with parades, military displays, patriotic oratory and fireworks.
1783 July
1783- Alexander Martin of North Carolina is the first governor to issue a state order (18 June) for celebrating the Fourth---------------------
1783 July
Moravians in Salem, North Carolina held a celebration of the Fourth of July in 1783. An elaborate music program called "Psalm of Joy" was conducted by Johann Friedrich Peter.
1783 July
Charleston, South Carolina holds a celebration. A dinner is given by the governor of South Carolina, 13 toasts to each state are made followed by a volley of 13 shots from artillery guns. A band played a dirge for 13 minutes.
1786 July
Beaufort, North Carolina, a celebration is held with an artillery salute. One errant shell hits the Court House causing a fire that destroys the building.
1787 July
Young John Quincy Adams watches several military companies in processions, and listens to an oration at the old brick meeting house in Boston, Massachusetts.
1788 July
Francis Hopkinson organizes the "Grand Federal Procession," in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, It is the largest parade in American history as of 1788.
1788 July
The first "official" celebration of the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence occurs on July 4th, 1788 after adjournment of Congress, followed by a ceremonial dinner, bonfires, ringing of bells and, of course, fireworks. The required number of states had adopted the Constitution by this time.
1788 July
   Celebrations become politicized in 1788 when factions bicker over the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Clashes occur among pro and anti-Constitution factions in Albany, New York.
William Weston judge of the Superior Court leads 1,000 citizens in an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt a celebration of the proposed ratification of the Constitution in Providence, Rhode Island on July 4th, 1788.
he first Independence Day oration west of the Alleghany Mountains was delivered by James M. Varnum in Marietta, Ohio (Northwestern territory) on July 4th.
1791 July
   The first record of July 4th being called "Independence Day" is found in the year 1791.
   George Washington's only Fourth of July address was in
Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1792 July
The Commissioners of Federal Buildings lay the cornerstone of the Federal Bridge in Washington, (D.C.).
1794 July
Colonel William Price and 40 Revolutionary War soldiers celebrate at his home near Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky.
1795 July
In Alexandria, Virginia a reenactment with infantry, cavalry and artillery units is part of the celebrations.
1795 July
Paul Revere and Gov. Samuel Adams lay the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House, in Boston, on July 4th.
1796 July
Mr. Evan's Tavern is the venue of the Republican Society when it meets in Baltimore, Maryland on the fourth of July.
1798 July
In Alexandria, Virginia, George Washington is in attendance at a celebration dinner of a large contingency of citizens and military officers of Fairfax County.
1798 July
The 20-gun sloop of war "Portsmouth" has its keel laid on July 4th in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
1799 July
"The Fourth of July; or Temple of American Independence" a musical drama is premiered in New York, New York.
1799 July
George Washington celebrates with a citizens at Kemps Tavern in Alexandria, Virginia.
1800s July Traditions developed out of the early celebration of Independence Day. Parades, group picnics and fireworks became standard traditions by the early 1800s.
1800 July
   The first local advertisements for fireworks appear in New York.
   "...A model of Mount Vernon, 20 feet long by 24 feet high, illuminated by several hundred lamps" is displayed at Mount Vernon Garden.
   Society of the Cincinnati celebration is held at the City Tavern in Philadelphia. A U.S. Marine Band, directed by Col. William Ward Burrows, performs.
Only the most pertinent observations are listed from here on.  For a more complete list go to the Chronology of Fourth of July Celebrations.
1801 July
The White House holds the first public Fourth of July reception in 1801.
1802 July
The U.S. Military Academy at West Point formally opens on July 4th, 1802.
1804 July
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark at Independence Creek, in 1804, hold the first Fourth of July celebration west of the Mississippi River.
1805 July
Boston, Massachusetts presents its first display of fireworks in 1805.
1808 ~ Richmond, Virginia resolves that only American liquor is to be consumed on the Fourth of July.
1815 Feb. American is again victorious against Great Britain with the War of 1812 ending in 1815. Independence Day observations become even more popular.
1815 July
The cornerstone for the Washington Monument in Baltimore, Maryland is set in place.
1852 July
Frederick Douglass delivers his oration, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" A reminder that "liberty for all" was not yet a reality.
1858 July
It had been common for towns to celebrate on the 5th when July 4th fell on a Sunday; a few opted for the 3rd. Senator Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts in a letter read on July 4th, 1858 gave his reasoning for celebrating on the 3rd (Saturday) rather than the 5th (Monday). "You are aware that Washington, having arrived at Cambridge on the 2d, assumed command of the American Army for the first time on the 3d of July, 1775. Would it not be a most agreeable and worthy coincidence, if, when the intervention of a Sunday shall cut off the customary routine of these celebrations, we could combine the commemoration of those two great events: Washington taking command of the Army in 1775, and Congress declaring our Independence in 1776" The suggestion, when instituted, caused protest among many citizens.
1870 ~ The U.S. Congress makes Independence Day an official holiday, celebrating the United States and its independence. (A paid day off, for government employees, was not granted at that time.)
1896 Music "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is written by John Philip Sousa, the King of March, while on a return voyage from a European vacation.   - See the Flag TimeLine, 1854
1931 Music
"The Star-Spangled Banner", words by Francis Scott Key, officially becomes the national anthem.
   -   See the Flag TimeLine, 1931
1938 ~ The U.S. Congress reaffirms Independence Day as a holiday, giving Federal employees the day off with pay.
2001 July
President George W. Bush delivers a speech in Independence Historic National Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, "... Today we celebrate American independence, in the place of America's birth, close to a symbol of American liberty. As millions know, to see the Liberty Bell is a moving experience. In America we set aside certain places and treasures like this to protect them from the passing of the years. We grant them special care to mark a moment in time. Here in Philadelphia, these markers are all around us, reminders of our history. ..."
2002 July
At the Courthouse Square in Ripley, West Virginia, President George W. Bush honors Veterans in his speech, "... These men and women served in different places, at different times, but all were ready when they're country needed them, ready to sacrifice, to fight, and if necessary, to die for the sake of others.
That's the highest form of citizenship. Whether the veterans here served in peacetime or in the worst battles, you have the nation's gratitude and the respect of your fellow Americans. On this 4th of July, it is my privilege to thank you for your service to your country. ..."
2003 July
On July 4th at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio President George W. Bush in a speech give honor to the Military, "I'm truly honored to join you in celebrating the 227th anniversary of our nation's independence. The 4th of July, 2003, finds our country facing many challenges. And we're rising to meet them"
2004 July
During the Presidential Proclamation of Independence Day on July 2nd. George W. Bush says, "On Independence Day, we remember names like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin --and we honor their courage and vision. We are grateful that our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to create an independent America. And we are thankful that this Nation under God is still free, independent, and the best hope of mankind"
2005 July
In a speech given at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, President George W. Bush states, "... Today we gather to celebrate the 229th anniversary of America's independence. Across our great land, families will gather to fly the flag, to watch the fireworks, and count our blessings as Americans. We are grateful for the bounty and opportunity of our land. We are grateful for our liberty. And we are grateful for the men and women in uniform who keep our country safe. ..."
2006 July
President George W. Bush delivers his Independence Day speech at For Bragg in North Carolina, "... Since that first 4th of July, some 43 million Americans have defended our freedom in times of war. These brave men and women crossed oceans and continents to defeat murderous ideologies and to secure the peace for generations that followed. We live in liberty because of the courage they displayed -- from Bunker Hill to Baghdad, from Concord to Kabul -- on this Independence Day we honor their achievements and we thank them for their service in freedom's cause. ..."
~ The, Roger W Hancock has written many patriotic poems that have already been enjoyed by many across the nation.   Patriotic Poetry.
~ Over the past hundred years or more Independence Day becomes one of the most anticipated holidays celebrated with games, athletic contests, picnics. programs and pageants. Over concern for safety, fireworks that "blow up" or "goes up" (shoots into the air) have been outlawed in much of America. Communities,  corporations, and other organizations will often fund a pyrotechnic display of fireworks, sometimes choreographed to music, and most often ending with a "grand finale" of intense fire of various explosions bursting out into the air as the next boom sounds.
© Copyright 2005 Roger W Hancock
Notable Events

    Provo, Utah holds the America's Freedom Festival annually as one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the nation. One of the main events is the Stadium of Fire held at the Brigham Young University's LaVell Edwards Stadium on the 4th of July.
   Bristol, Rhode Island holds the oldest Independence celebrationSee 1777
   In Ozark, Missouri the James River Assembly hosts the "I Love America" celebration at the Springfield Underground. The choir's "Living Flag" and the "Concert in the Sky" are two of the main attractions. in 2006 120,000 people attended the events.
   NASCAR's Pepsi 400 has been held on July 4th or the Saturday of the Independence Day weekend, since 1959.
   Each year over 500,000 people attend "A Capitol Fourth" on the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C. that is followed by a fireworks display.
America's 2007 Independence Day Parade is in Washington, D.C
Sunoco Welcome America! in Philadelphia, is an annual event that runs over a week.
in Edmond, Oklahoma,  is an annual event that runs over a week.
   The Independence Day Parade in Santa Clarita, CA began in 1932.  See
Old Town Newhall.
Boston, Massachusetts holds the annual Boston Harborfest .

© Copyright 2005 Roger W Hancock

     Founding fathers and past presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4th, 1826; the fiftieth anniversary of America's Independence. Adams and Jefferson were the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to have become President of the United States.
   America's 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4th, 1872.
   The first 2006 launch of a Space Shuttle was on July 4th at 2:37:55 EDT with the Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-121 mission.

  © Copyright 2005 Roger W Hancock

Independence Day

                                   by Roger W Hancock

 The fourth of July to celebrate,
 with fireworks and remembrance.
 Founder’s heroes in bravery,
 country born to be great.
 A sacrifice they gave back then,
 of wealth and security.
 Price paid with young blood,
 scarlet cost for Liberty.
 Declaration of Independence,
 a bold unquiet dissidence.
 Beginnings of a new embrace,
 that liberty be, the right of men.
 For you and me they fought,
 that oppression not be ours.
 Decay in power was their thought.
 Freedom forever yours.
 Beginning of law for freedom,
 laid out in the Constitution.
 Balance of power to preserve
 that liberty stay intact.
 We the people, not government,
 in liberty they took this stance;
 no king to rule without restraint,
 President, congress, court for balance.
 Firm foundations by great men,
 from future visions dreamed.
 Liberty, freedom, to us they gave.
 Revel, on Independence Day.

  © 1-16-2002 Roger W Hancock

More Patriotic Poems by the PoetPatriot

John Adams said, “the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, …. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”


"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be ... the signal of arousing men to burst the chains ... and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ... For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them."
  -  Thomas Jefferson, June 24, 1826, excerpted from his last letter, written to Roger C. Weightman, declining an invitation to Washington, D.C.. - Jefferson dies on July 4th, 1826.


   ". . .  Never since it first was created in Philadelphia, has this anniversary come in times so dangerous to everything for which it stands. We celebrate it this year, not in the fireworks of make-believe but in the death-dealing reality of tanks and planes and guns and ships. We celebrate it also by running without interruption the assembly lines which turn out these weapons to be shipped to all the embattled points of the globe. Not to waste one hour, not to stop one shot, not to hold back one blow--that is the way to mark our great national holiday in this year of 1942.
   To the weary, hungry, unequipped Army of the American Revolution, the Fourth of July was a tonic of hope and inspiration. So is it now. The tough, grim men who fight for freedom in this dark hour take heart in its message--the assurance of the right to liberty under God--for all peoples and races and groups and nations, everywhere in the world.”
  -  Franklin D. Roosevelt July 4th, 1942 - Address to the nation.


"On this 4th of July, 2001, a great anniversary of our nation's birth, and a great anniversary of religious liberty, we remember the ideals of America and the things of the spirit that sustain them. The Liberty Bell has been mostly silent for two centuries. And during the Revolution, it was unseen, hidden under the floorboards of a church in Allentown. Yet, even in silence, it has always borne one message, cast for the ages with the words of the Old Testament; 'Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.' In this place of history, we honor the first generation of Americans who followed those words. And we give thanks to the God who watched over our country then, and who watches to this very day."
  -  President George W. Bush, from remarks at Philadelphia, Independence Day Celebration, 2001.

© Copyright 2005 Roger W Hancock
Fourth of July    LINKS
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What the Presidents Did on the Fourth of July
Notable Fourth of July Celebration Occurrences
Music performed on the 4th of July in the 19th Century
Chronology of Musical Events
Toasts to George Washington
Abraham Lincoln's Independence Day Address

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