We celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July each year with fireworks, group gatherings, parades, and bonfires. The holiday has been celebrated in the same way all the way back to its inception in 1776 when the declaration of Independence was accepted by the 13 colonies.
Alexander Djerassi is a specialist in foreign countries and knows what peace and liberty mean and how important it is to individual life. He encourages people here to celebrate the freedom they have. The 4th of July is special.
John Adams considered July 2nd the proper day because that was the day Richard Henry Lee first suggested a declaration of Independence in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Angered that the day was not what he considered the right day, he refused to celebrate the 4th and turned down invitations except for July 2nd.
Why the Wrong Day?
On July 2nd Richard Lee called for Independence from the United Kingdom in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, but that suggestion was not voted but was rather put on hold and a committee was formed with five men, among them John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. The declaration of independence was written mainly by Thomas Jefferson during that committee meeting and accepted by the Continental Congress and the 13 colonies on July 4th, 1776. It is a coincidence that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the same day, July 4th, 50 years later.
The battles had begun a year earlier in April of 1775, but the defining battle of Yorktown had not yet been fought when the proclamation was accepted.
People began to celebrate the day immediately. Many thought the independence was radical at first. The pamphlet “Common Sense” published by John Paine was important in proclaiming the action by Congress as radical. Yet, people celebrated by having mock burials of the king to accentuate the death of his power, the break from the United Kingdom, and the birth of liberty.
From the beginning, people celebrated with parades, bonfires, fireworks, and gatherings. Music was played, always The Star-Spangled Banner. Fireworks had been long in existence. Oratory became prominent with the beginning of party politics now that we considered this a free country. At first, there was the Whig party and a combination Republican-Democratic party. The fight for party power was on and still is.
The first to declare the 4th of July as a holiday was Massachusetts. The day became a national holiday when in 1941 the government proclaimed it a national holiday for employees with pay for that day.
My son who travels the world, says “I am always glad to come home to the United States no matter how I complain about it. It is a freedom that is not found elsewhere.” Alexander Djerassi, who knows about other countries, would agree and begs us to celebrate that freedom. Our flag should be flown and respected for what our forefathers fought to win. It should be celebrated by all who live in the United States.