Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! Today is Wednesday July 4th, 2018. America’s favorite summer holiday where we celebrate the birth of our great nation. Today we remember and honor the American spirit and all that so many have sacrificed. Ever wonder how America’s birthday really got started? How did the signing of the Declaration play into things? What follows is a brief history of July 4th.

In case you missed it in your history classes, the start for our quest of Independence began with the American Revolution in which the original colonies decided to stand up to British rule. In doing so the Deceleration of Independence would be drafted. The official task was to draft a formal document justifying a break with Britain. The document would be created by an appointed five man committee including: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Franklin and Robert R. Livingston. Each represented various states across the emerging country.

In 1776, the Continental Congress would sign this document, now officially the Declaration of Independence, which declared the original thirteen colonies free from British rule. One interesting fact about this document is that the actual voting on the Declaration took place two days before on July 2nd. Some believe that because of this that we should celebrate our independence two days before the actual holiday. The reason that we celebrate on the fourth is because it would take two official days for the document to be printed and reach its final form.

Early celebrations of Independence were starkly contrasted from what the colonists were used to. While still under British rule, the colonists were forced to recognize and celebrate the king’s birthday. However in the summer of 1776, colonists actually held mock funerals for the king as a way to express America’s triumph of Liberty. Not to worry though, the colonists would also celebrate with concerts, bonfires and with public readings of the Declaration to also mark the holiday.

The fourth would continue to be celebrated by citizens and politicians alike throughout the next several decades especially when the United States and Britain faced off again in the War of 1812. The holiday would nationally recognized in the 1941 with Massachusetts being the first state to celebrate the fourth of July as an official holiday.

While the political theme of the holiday might have slightly backed off it is still a great opportunity to get together and show our national pride. No matter how you might be spending the day celebrating the holiday whether out on the lake, taking in fireworks, enjoying the outdoors or even a family BBQ take the time to remember America today. Pause and reflect on our forefathers and their sacrifice to stand up and make a change in the world around them. May their words and actions be in the back of our minds today. Stay safe today and savor every moment. Happy Fourth of July from all of us at the Jefferson County Post.

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