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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The 4th of July


Declaration of Independence

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776 in the United States of America. On this date, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies' separation from Great Britain. The Constitution provides the legal and governmental framework for the United States, however, the Declaration, with its eloquent assertion "all Men are created equal," is equally beloved by the American people.
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the USA's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. There, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country. Here you can read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration.

The US Flag
photo credits: US Flag Vector
The Stars and Stripes originated as a result of a resolution adopted by the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress at Philadelphia on June 14, 1777. The resolution read:
"Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation."
The resolution gave no instruction as to how many points the stars should have, nor how the stars should be arranged on the blue union. Consequently, some flags had stars scattered on the blue field without any specific design, some arranged the stars in rows, and some in a circle.
Strong evidence indicates that Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was responsible for the stars in the US flag. At the time that the flag resolution was adopted, Hopkinson was the Chairman of the Continental Navy Board's Middle Department. Hopkinson also helped design other devices for the Government including the Great Seal of the United States. Flag Day is celebrated every year on June 14th.

Celebrations
Hurrah for the USA, 1915
Over time, various other summertime activities also came to be associated with the Fourth of July, including historical pageants, picnics, baseball games, watermelon-eating contests, and trips to the beach. Common foods include hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, apple pie, cole slaw, clam bakes and some incredible fireworks.
While the Fourth is celebrated across the country, historic cities like Boston and Philadelphia draw huge crowds to their festivities.
In Boston, the USS John F. Kennedy often sails into the harbor, while the Boston Pops Orchestra holds a televised concert on the banks of the Charles River, featuring American music and ending with the 1812 Overture.
Philadelphia holds its celebrations at Independence Hall, where historic scenes are reenacted and the Declaration of Independence is read.
Other interesting parties include the American Indian rodeo and three-day pow-wow in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Lititz, Pennsylvania, candle festival, where hundred of candles are floated in water and a "Queen of Candles" is chosen.

If you want to know more about American and British holidays and celebrations, visit the wiki: British & American Festivals and Holidays!

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2 comments:

  1. The everlasting American Dream...
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness... a dream to come true on this side of the Atlantic :)

    ReplyDelete

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