Why Do We Celebrate Independence Day?
Perhaps you’ve been asked what’s the reason for celebrating Independence Day or the 4th of July. I’m sure most of us say, “That’s the day we received our freedom from English rule,” or something along those lines. It’s true that our nation declared its freedom on July 4, 1776, but many never think about what it took to win that freedom.
Sacrifice and Effort
When we came here from England to settle in this wild, untamed country, there was nothing but our determination and a few rudimentary tools to help us. Each day we struggled with new things we’d never before encountered; animals, insects, plants, natives, hunger, crop failure, and the daily need to survive.
Eventually we grew into 13 colonies, but we were still under England’s laws and many of them were not fair to the colonists. During this time, when laws were enacted without anyone representing us, we became a divided people. There were those who refused to stand against the King because it was what they had always known. There were those who felt that because they had worked so hard to build a new nation, it and they should be free of English rule.
The King’s Laws
King George III did not take lightly the unrest he heard about from his supporters in the colonies. He was known to have lapses in judgment and moments of sheer insanity and he became irate with their concern about the increased taxes that the colonists did not want to pay on the goods shipped to them. Their reasoning was that they had no representative there in England to fight for lower taxes and that without that, they should not have to pay the higher fees. To punish them, he sent word to the Colonies that they were no longer in his protection and then began to wage war on them. The Colonists, not only fighting to survive in a strange land, also had to fight the largest nation in the world which also claimed the world’s largest Navy. Yet they fought back with a vengeance.
Peace Finally Comes At Great Cost
Every man who believed in freedom for the colonies, risked their lives by doing this “act of treason.” Some who stood with the King called these men and women “turncoats” “traitors,” and continually spied on them and sent back word to England. Many lives were lost on both sides during the battle for America’s freedom from monarchy rule.
With determination and the will to lay down their lives to see this country freed from England, the Colonists persevered. The Declaration of Independence was born, birthed by the American Revolutionary War from 1785 to 1783. But we were to fight the British once again in the War of 1812. We won that one too, against the same King. You’d think he would have learned the first time! When the War of 1812 ended in 1815 with the Treaty of Ghent, we have since been at peace with the United Kingdom, and actually became their allies.
When Should We Celebrate Independence Day?
The actual separation from England of the original 13 colonies on the American continent was on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve independence from England. This resolution was proposed in June of 1776 by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. So why do we not celebrate it then? Here’s the reason.
Once that vote was taken and approved, what was to become our Declaration of Independence was drawn up with input from five leading citizens; John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert Livingston of New York, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, who actually penned the Declaration. When Jefferson finished the document, these men signed, knowing their lives were in danger before the ink dried. But they had the courage and commitment to do what was right. After much debate and revision, Congress approved it on July 4, 1776, making it official on that date. And so we remember…and celebrate!
Songs For Independence Day
Celebrations are held all over America on Independence Day, the 4th of July. Cookouts, Barbecues, parades in the daytime and fireworks at night. Groups lustily sing patriotic songs such as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “God Bless America,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “America The Beautiful,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” and others. The Boston Pops and other musical organizations usually televise a special concert with guest stars on hand to give their rendition of patriotic songs. Decorations of red, white and blue are seen everywhere, including items of clothing. In some cities there are fireworks displays safely put on by special organizations. Then too, there are places that allow citizens to do certain fireworks at their home. Some places do not allow any fireworks due to the danger of personal injuries or personal property catching fire. But the celebrations go on in one way or the other, because we remember…..and we celebrate our freedom.
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