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Independence Day: More than parades, fireworks, barbecues

People think of family get-togethers, barbecues, parades, concerts and fireworks on the Fourth of July. We display U.S. flags to show our patriotism and pride for this country on that day.

But the reason for celebrating the Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, sometimes is lost in all our planning and activities.

A federal holiday, the Fourth of July is when we celebrate America’s independence from the British empire.

According to historical information, July 4 is the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, a governing body comprising delegates from the 13 American colonies. This document, mainly written by Thomas Jefferson, officially declared the United States of America’s independence from British rule.

Actually, the document was voted on July 2, 1776, two days before July 4.

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence with a few revisions. John Hancock, president of the Congress, was the first person to sign the document on July 4. Nearly a month later on Aug. 2, 1776, the delegates began signing the document.

Our use of fireworks became part of celebrating the Fourth of July, dating back to 1777, when cannons in Boston and Philadelphia lit up the sky 13 times to represent the 13 original colonies. Later on, fireworks replaced cannons.

On this Independence Day, enjoy the day and also remember its historical significance as a day of freedom and the birth of our homeland, the United States of America.

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