I think it is very important for everyone to know that The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is so much more than a day for fireworks, cookouts, and pool parties. While all of those things are in good fun, bear in mind the struggles our country went through in order for us to have our precious freedom.
The United States has only recognized Independence Day as a Federal Holiday for 74 years now, but we have actually had our independence for far longer, 239 years to be exact.
In April of 1775 the 13 colonies of British North America had decided that they wanted their independence from Great Britain, thus starting the first battles of the Revolutionary War. When Thomas Paine’s, “Common Sense,” was published later in 1776, things had really picked up. On June 7 of 1776, Richard Henry Lee met with the Continental Congress to introduce a motion for the colonies’ independence. After weeks of debating, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution by a near unanimous vote on July 2, 1776. Two days later 56 men dipped their pens into ink and signed the Declaration of Independence.
The Revolutionary War would go on seven more years before ending in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris. The major turning point in the war was The Battle of Yorktown in 1781, led by General George Washington, where Britain surrendered to the Continental Army. 25,000 Colonial soldiers died over the course of this war, so that the American people could live in a free country, and no longer be controlled under Britain’s rule.
In a letter to his wife after voting on Lee’s resolution, Thomas Jefferson wrote,“Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” So light up the sky this Fourth of July, but remember to take a moment of remembrance for those that fought and are continuing to fight so that we may celebrate our freedom.
Source: History.com – Revolutionary War