Occasions 365

4th of July

Celebrate your independence!

One of the most festive occasions of the summer is Independence Day – the 4th of July. During a season when there are not many holidays, the Fourth of July is the perfect reason to celebrate with friends and family in the middle of the summer. As you celebrate the Fourth of July this year, however, it is important to remember exactly what you are celebrating and why. Before you pick up your hot dog, make plans to attend a baseball game or head to the beach, think for just a few minutes about the meaning behind the 4th of July.

Why Do We Celebrate It?

The Fourth of July is the midsummer holiday that celebrates the freedom of the colonies that would form the United States of America, when they broke away from the authority that had been imposed over them by England. It celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which asserted the desires of the new American citizens and proclaimed their wish to observe three basic rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But did you know that the Declaration of Independence wasn't actually signed on July 4th? In fact, Independence Day was set for July 4th, but the documentation was actually signed a few days earlier! There are conflicting stories about why July 4th was chosen as the actual date that people could celebrate American independence.

A Time for Reflection

So this summer, halfway between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as you're getting out your festive red, white and blue decorations, stop for a moment and think about the original European settlers to this great land. They worked through many hardships and persevered through the toughest of times so that we could live in the freedom that we enjoy here today. Without their bravery or the fact that they were willing to stand up to England and fight for their right to be free, our land would be much different.

The Fourth of July is far more than simply a celebration with fireworks and the colors of our flag. It is a remembrance of struggle and sacrifice. But you can celebrate those struggles by enjoying quality time with your friends and family around your favorite barbecue or out at the lake. Because a large portion of the independence that we celebrate on the 4th of July is the independence to have the friends we want, plan the activities we want and celebrate the holidays that make us proud to be Americans.

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