This week, America celebrates its 241st birthday. Travelers through the county will read “Celebrate Our Freedom, Happy Birthday America” on roadside signs. Craig Valley DAR contacted sixteen churches and businesses to suggest this patriotic message be posted as a show of our community spirit and patriotism.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, the historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
On July 8, 1776, the first public readings of the Declaration were held in Philadelphia’s Independence Square to the ringing of bells and band music. One year later, on July 4, 1777, Philadelphia marked Independence Day by adjourning Congress and celebrating with bonfires, bell-ringings and fireworks.
In 1781, the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
In 1870, the United States Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees and in 1938, it became one of ten paid federal holidays. All non-essential federal institutions, such as the postal service and federal courts, as well as some businesses are closed on that day.
The first week of July is typically one of the busiest United States travel periods of the year, as many people use what is often a 3-day holiday weekend for extended vacation trips. When July 4 falls on a Saturday, it is observed on Friday and when it falls on Sunday, Independence Day is officially observed on Monday, July 5. July 4, 2017 is on Tuesday, breaking up the workweek and making a long weekend more difficult.
The famous Macy’s fireworks display usually held over the East River in New York City has been televised nationwide on NBC since 1976. In 2009, the fireworks display was returned to the Hudson River for the first time since 2000 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson‘s exploration of that river.
July 4 events in Washington D.C. attract over half a million people annually. The mile-long National Independence Day Parade takes place mid-day, sponsored in part by the National Park Service. That evening on the Capitol lawn, a free concert is broadcast live and features the National Symphony Orchestra. Festivities are concluded with one of the country’s largest fireworks displays. Craig Valley DAR encourages homeowners to fly their American Flags and drive safely.
-Submitted by Craig Valley DAR