Baseball, hot dogs, and dare we say, apple pie! Just some of the American traditions we love about Independence Day, celebrated in grand style across America on July 4. Yes, we all know the date. But what actually took place on that iconic day back in 1776? Well, historians will remind you that the actual “legal” separation from Great Britain occurred 48 hours earlier. (Second of July, anyone?) If you must know — The Fourth is the day Congress finalized a fine little piece of writing we like to call the Declaration of Independence. (Does “all men are created equal” ring a bell?) Thus, it’s the date on the actual document and the reason we wait two extra days for picnics, barbecues, and fireworks. Happy Fourth!
How to Observe Independence Day
1. Read the Declaration of Independence
If you're like most Americans, you've never actually read the Declaration of Independence. But if it weren't for this short but historically significant document, you wouldn't be grilling out or lighting fireworks, and you definitely wouldn't have the day off.
2. Watch fireworks
It's a blast — in more ways than one. Gazing at fireworks on the Fourth goes back centuries. In fact, John Adams alluded to this type of celebration in a letter he wrote to Abigail on July 3, 1776.
3. Visit a national landmark or historic site
America is full of fascinating historical landmarks and sites. No matter where in the country you live, there is almost certainly a site of historical importance nearby. Some ideas could include a Native American reservation, a Civil War battleground, a government building, or a war memorial.
Why Independence Day is Important
A. It's the most delicious day of the summer
There are few days of the year that offer as much food variety as the Fourth of July. Steak? Check. Chicken wings? Yep. Fresh strawberry pie? Absolutely. Macaroni & cheese? You got it. No matter what your craving, it's sure to be available on Independence Day.
B. We're all in this together
Admit it — the Fourth of July makes you feel giddy. Maybe it's the parades, maybe it's the BBQ, but probably — it's the fireworks. This is the one night of the year you can watch the sky light up surrounded by children laughing, dogs barking, and patriotic music playing.
C. You can wear whatever you want — as long as it's red, white, and blue
That ugly bandana you never wear? That decades-old T-shirt with an American flag on it? Those are all fair game on Independence Day — as long as they're red, white, and blue.