It’s seven o: clock! You can’t wait for the day to start. It’s the 4th of July and you and your family are going to the park to see the fireworks. You make enough noise to “accidentally” wake up your parents and your older brother. After inhaling your breakfast cereal and watching your parents pack the picnic lunch, you pile into the SUV and drive to the park. Your reserved picnic pavilion is waiting for you.
Dad puts the charcoal in the grille and fires it up. Your stomach rumbles just thinking about those juicy hot dogs, steaks and hamburgers to come. You play some catch with your brother, get bored and walk back to the picnic. You know the fireworks will be neat but, suddenly, you find yourself wondering why you celebrate the 4th of July in the first place and how did the Fourth of July holiday came about.
Well, many people believe we celebrate the Fourth of July because it is the day we received our Independence from England. While those people are thinking along the right track, that is not the entire reason we celebrate the Fourth of July, nor is it the reason that the holiday came about.
According to AJC.com, Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence June 1776. Even though the Continental Congress we elected, declared our independence from England on July 2nd, not July 4th, we continue to celebrate our independence on July 4th every year. During the course of the American Revolution a second Continental Congress was formed. It is this group that adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. After the first draft was written it was revised by Ben Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson one last time, before it was sent to Congress for final approval. All thirteen colonies stood behind the Declaration of Independence and adopted it in full on July 4, 1776. That is also the date that appears on the handwritten copy of the Declaration, as well as the copies, printed by Dunlap and Broadsides, that were circulated throughout the United States, (constitutionalfacts.com).
This is where the Fourth of July holiday comes in. The Fourth of July is known as “Independence Day” because that is the day that the Second Continental Congress adopted the full and formal Declaration of Independence. Regardless of the ongoing war the following year, people in Philadelphia celebrated a muted Fourth of July.
While celebrations on July 4th during the American Revolution were modest, after the war ended in 1783 the Fourth of July became a big holiday in many places. The celebrations included speeches, military events, parades, concerts, festivals, and fireworks. To this day the Fourth of July is the most patriotic holiday celebrated in the United States.
Whether you decide to throw a BBQ in your local community park and stick around to watch the fireworks with your loved ones, or you plan on attending one of the multiple celebrations happening all over Tampa Bay, you may wonder… how do politicians celebrate the 4th of July? Well, Congress won’t be in session, so our best guess is that all the congressmen will be at home with their own families, sharing their holiday celebrations.
How about the President of the United States? 4th of July celebrations can be hard for our presidents. Newsweek writer, Julia Glum, had the answers about what some of our presidents did or are going to do on the 4th. In short, “President Trump will be in New Jersey. Obama held concerts and Thomas Jefferson died.” I will take two out of three of those celebrations!
According to India Times reporter, Chidanand Rajghatta, on demand and at the orders of President Trump, we will also have a new parade in Washington when “the US military will march down Pennsylvania Avenue in a parade expected to surpass France’s famed Bastille Day.” President Trump is said to have been impressed by the French parade that he attended in July 2017, so he has ordered the Pentagon to roll out a huge parade this upcoming fourth of July to try and top the French celebrations. There have been a lot of speculations all over social media that the Mayor of Washington DC could deny the Pentagon a parade permit.
We will have to wait and see how our President decides to celebrate this special holiday. But one thing you can count on, no matter in which city or state you are in, and that is… fireworks, lots and lots of fireworks!
A Boston Globe reporter, Evan Horowitz wrote, “if you gathered all the fireworks that Americans will set off this week” (4th of July), “they would weigh more than the Statue of Liberty, cost more than a Powerball jackpot and release more energy than 100,000 bolts of lightning.” Wow! Can you believe that? That would certainly give my next-door neighbors something ELSE to complain about!
Channelside is one of the best places to watch fireworks in Tampa, with both their Red, White and Blue Festival from Cotanchobee Park, and major displays at Bay Plaza. Safety Harbor will also be sponsoring their yearly fireworks extravaganza. If you are in Pinellas, don’t miss the fun in the St. Petersburg area. Four of the many attractions will include Gulfport’s July 4th Party, St. Pete’s Spa Beach show, Largo’s celebration and Clearwater Celebrates America. Not to be outdone, Pasco county will be hosting their celebration from Waterfront Park and these are just a few of the many celebration sites.
Tampabay.com reports that “There are plenty of options, including massive shows in Tampa, St. Pete and New Port Richey as well as smaller shows across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Sarasota counties. Lots of fireworks for everyone! Check the Internet to see what events will be taking place in your neighborhood.
As we watch the bombs bursting in air this 4th of July, stop for a moment and remember our brave fighting men and women, around the world, who are still protecting our freedom today. Then relax, enjoy … and pass me another hotdog.