On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), approved the Declaration of Independence, severing the colonies’ ties to the British Crown. Independent America was born, but no one expected to sleep through those first nights.
While all students know that the Declaration was signed on the fourth of July and understand the years’ worth of turmoil between those who wanted independence and those who wished to remain loyal to the crown, how many know Congress actually declared independence on July 2nd by adopting the Lee Resolution? Two days later, on July fourth, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. To learn more, visit the Library of Congress webguide.
All we all know the primary author of the Declaration was none other than Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia delegate to the Congress, but how many others can you name? Each risked execution, should they be captured by the British, and each risked loss of all personal property, should the eminent war with Great Britain end badly for these men, our forefathers. This was America’s true “greatest generation.”
There are a number of ways Americans traditionally celebrate Independence Day. First and foremost, take the time to reflect, not only on the value of our independence and freedoms, but also the civic responsibilities and duties that go with them. Other ways to celebrate include:
- Properly and proudly display a United States flag
- Re-familiarize yourself with the Declaration of Independence
- Dress up patriotically in red, white and blue
- Make a patriotic craft with your children and discuss freedoms and responsibilities
- Show your community support by attending a local parade or fireworks display
- Enjoy a barbeque with family, friends and neighbors
- Picnic in a local park or historical site
- Thank civil servants, such as first responders, veterans and members of the military
- Remember our Founding Fathers their sacrifices
Celebrate safely and responsibly and have a great holiday.
By Craig Gilman
Faculty Member at American Military University