AMERICA'S FOURTH OF JULY
I recently found the following information on the internet and thought it would be of interest to Bethel Citizen readers:
“Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age ‘till time shall be no more. Amen and Amen." Virginia Gazette on July 18th, 1777.
"School children in America learn the basic history of the events surrounding the Fourth of July, but the details of this monumental occasion in American history somehow fall through the cracks.
"Although July 4th is celebrated as America's official split from Britain's rule and the beginning of the American Revolution, the actual series of events show the process took far longer than a single day.
"The original resolution was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776, and called the Continental Congress to declare the United States free from British rule.
"On June 11, 1776, the colonies' Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, formed a committee with the express purpose of drafting a document that would formally sever their ties with Great Britain. Some of the committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Roger Sherman. The document was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. A total of 86 changes were made to his draft. The final version, the document that we know as the Declaration of Independence, was officially adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the resolution that led to the writing of the Declaration was actually approved two days earlier.
"On July 8, 1776, the first public reading of the Declaration was 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, bells and fireworks. The custom eventually spread to other towns both large and small. Observations throughout the nation became even more common at the end of the War of 1812 with Great Britain.
"In 1941, Congress declared July 4 a legal Federal holiday. Today, communities across the nation mark this major midsummer holiday with parades, fireworks, picnics and the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" and marches by John Philip Sousa.