As our country prepares to celebrate the 4th of July this week, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss my thoughts about this particular holiday.
Yes, we celebrate with cookouts and picnics…going to the beach or the park or other fun locations to watch fireworks! Most of us (those who don’t work in the hospitality or entertainment industry, or retail, or emergency services, that is!) have the day off to enjoy with our families and friends.
Our homes and yards are seen sporting red, white, and blue; we even have one of our “famous” flamingos in the front yard decked out in her patriotic colors, complete with Uncle Sam hat! We make desserts and other goodies to resemble our flag. And yes, our craft studio is no exception…we’ve even made this set of red, white and blue wine bottle pendants, just for patriotic parties!
But we also need to take the time to remember what this holiday is really for. It’s actually Independence Day, as you know…the day we celebrate our nation’s actually becoming its own country…the United States…with our freedom being declared from England! Our ancestors fought hard for our freedom. Our brave men and women who served and are still serving in our armed forces put their very lives on the line every day to continue to make sure we keep our precious freedom. And we thank and salute each and every one of them for their service!
Without them, I hate to think where we’d be!
Now…do you know why fireworks are used for 4th of July celebrations? They were first used on July 8, 1776. Possibly since fireworks were traditionally used as a birthday celebration for the kings and queens, the shooting off of fireworks was done to celebrate the end of the king’s power over the colonies. The first official July 4 celebration was held the following year, on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia, which was the capitol of the United States at that time. Soon other cities followed Philadelphia’s lead, and there you have it! The rest is history!
Being originally from Maryland, every time I hear the “Star Spangled Banner” I also tend to think about how similar the fireworks must look to what it probably looked like at Ft. McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote about the “rocket’s red glare and the bombs bursting in air”! Only those were real ammunition….not mere fireworks!
Even though July 4 was not declared an official federal holiday until 1941, it had been celebrated unofficially, since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. With the federal recognition, celebrations grew to what we have today.
So as you enjoy your cookouts with friends and family, and “ooh” and “ahh” over the fireworks, please take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by so many so that we can all enjoy the freedom we so often take for granted!
God Bless America! And Happy Independence Day!