Fourth of July

Most people know that on the July 4th, fireworks go off and people have barbecues.  Out of those people, most know why we celebrate that day.  If you ask a child, he or she will say "We have picnics and watch fireworks, but that's all.  The reason behind the celebration gets lost.  As the child grows up, he or she learns the real meaning behind the celebration of the 4th of July.
Our flag - fly it high and proud to celebrate freedom!

Independence Hall - where the Declaration was signed

The Signers' Hall

On this day in Philadelphia, representatives from the 13 original colonies finally agreed on the Declaration of Independence.  Just two days before, New York had abstained.  The Founding Fathers firmly believed that in order for this new nation to be a success, there needed to be unanimous agreement when it came to declaring independence against Great Britain.
No pens back then - ink and a quill

Statue of the Signer in Philadelphia

Five men worked tireless hours to make the document exactly what all men would agree upon.  Thomas Jefferson was the main writer of the text.  John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston were part of the committee to create the declaration.  Jefferson was chosen as the chief writer because the others knew he had a definite way with words.
Graff House - now known as Declaration House

Room at Graff House where Jefferson slept

Jefferson were retire to the Graff House (now known as Declaration House) each night to review the recommendations members of Congress made.  While he sat there, he would change words and phrases until he came up with something the members would agree upon. Jefferson was a bit of a perfectionist and was determined to rewrite the Declaration until all members were in agreement.
Every day there is a ceremonial reading of the Declaration

Several copies were made of the final draft - to be sent to each colony (now a state) to be read aloud to patriots and families who gathered in squares and churches to hear the famous words.  At the time, there were approximately 2.5 million people in the United States of America.  Today, there are over 300 million people.
John Adams

Thomas Jefferson

Did you know that two US presidents died on the 4th of July?  Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day - exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed. They died within hours of each other.

The Fourth of July has been a federal holiday since 1941 even though the celebration of this day has been going on since the Declaration was first signed in 1776.

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