Independence Day--July 4th
Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of
Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared
that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the
United States of American, and were no longer part of the British Empire. From
1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American
independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades concerts and family
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen
Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 actually occurred on July 2, when the Second
Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been
proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States
independent from Great Britain’s rule. After voting for independence, Congress
turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement justifying the
break from Great Britain, Congress appointed a Committee of Five, with Thomas
Jefferson at its principal author. Other members of the Committee included John
Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of
Pennsylvania and Robert P. Livingston of New York. On July 2nd, the Continental
Congress voted for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York
delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On July 4th, the Continental
congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence.
Following the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence,
festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and firing of cannons and muskets
followed in celebration. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of
independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the
After the War of 1812, in which the United States once again faced Great
Britain, patriotic July 4th celebrations become more widespread. In 1870, the U.S.
Congress made July 4th a federal holiday. The most common symbol of the holiday
is the American Flag, and a common musical accompaniment is the national
anthem of the United States, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
Regardless of how you spend your Independence Day, at a parade, barbecue,
picnic, concert, baseball game and or a family gathering, remember the reason
behind this holiday. Many of our ancestors fought or gave aid during the war.
This is a day to be proud American and celebrate our country’s rich history. Enjoy
your 4th of July!
Yours in Patriotism,
J. Michael Tomme, Sr.
President General, 2016-2017
National Society Sons of the American Revolution