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Fourth of July: Celebrating America’s independence

The Fourth of July is a time to come together and enjoy patriotic fun with family and friends. Since 1776 to the present day, July 4th is celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities from concerts, fireworks, and parades, to casual family gatherings and barbecues.

While America is enjoying these festivities, it is a great time to think about those who helped guarantee its independence and freedom.

What gives July 4th its significance? It is the day that the Continental Congress adopted our Declaration of Independence in 1776. In Philadelphia, the signers of this document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, recognized that this declaration of independence from the rule of Great Britain might also be their death sentence.

Independence.M1They knew with certainty that the wrath and force of the British army would sail across the Atlantic to descend on the defenseless colonies. They knew they didn’t have the numbers or arms to stand against the British, much less defeat them militarily. They put their signatures, their lives, and their destiny, on that parchment. And so, that Declaration told the world that “these United Colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and independent states.”

The majority of people living in these colonies grew tired of British domination, and of working for the pleasure of a king who considered them his indentured servants. They wanted to be free and to govern themselves.

Four days later in Philadelphia, the first celebration of American Independence took place where the Continental Congress was still meeting. The ceremony began with a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Afterward, from the tower of what is now Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell was rung.

Between 1776 and 1788, horrible fighting and bloodshed contributed to the deaths and bankruptcies of many signers of the Declaration. Families were torn apart, businesses and farms destroyed. The freedoms professed were secured at a terrible cost.

On the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, in 1777, the day was celebrated with fireworks, beginning the tradition that has grown over the last 200 years. John Adams, credited with suggesting “bells, bonfires, and illuminations,” for the event, would undoubtedly be thrilled and captivated with today’s firework displays.

The conflict continued until the 1783 Treaty of Paris, which ended the war in favor of an independent America.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 — the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became increasingly more common and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration of Independence was written, Congress declared July 4th to be a national holiday.

The American forefathers successfully worked to prevail in establishing a great country. Its citizens, as inheritors of their great efforts, should express thanks — working together to maintain the integrity and values of this great document and enjoy celebrating the holiday with the magnificent fireworks, parades and other symbolic events that mark the freedom and birth of a great country.

Melissa Jones is an experienced mass market and e-commerce buyer with over 15 years in the floriculture industry.