America’s birthday bash celebrates our independence from England and commemorates our Declaration of Independence adopted on July 4th, 1776 by the Continental Congress.
237 years later, Americans hold the federal holiday in high reverence as a day to enjoy cookouts, hold carnivals and concerts, enjoy baseball games and watch fireworks. Politicians use the holiday to glad-hand potential voters at picnics and barbecues, while fireworks take over evening hours all around the country. Some of the more famous firework displays are in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York City, Miami (where even downtown tall buildings sport a red, white and blue light show), and Orlando’s Disneyworld. San Diego, St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit also observe the holiday with fireworks displays. Other cities hold parades for the event.
To gain independence, the Second Continental Congress voted on July 2, 1776 to approve a resolution of independence, and created a committee led by Thomas Jefferson, who served as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, made official on July 4th, according to Wikipedia.
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more,” His prediction, says Wikipedia, was off by two days, as Americans selected the 4th of July, the date on the Declaration of Independence, instead.
Fireworks inspire excitement and awe in young and old alike, but they can also be dangerous. Floridians are urged to put safety first when using fireworks.
Nearly 7,000 Americans were treated for fireworks-related injuries in emergency rooms in 2008, and fireworks caused an estimated 22,500 reported fires that year, according to the Fire Marshal’s office. Under Florida law, only sparklers are approved as legal for consumer usage. Anyone using unapproved fireworks may face a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Sparklers also produce high enough heat to potentially cause injury. When lit, some sparklers can reach temperatures between 1,300 and 1,800 degrees, hotter than a butane lighter.
This holiday, have fun, enjoy great food, catch a baseball game, enjoy outings, and watch some fireworks, whether on television or live. Drive safely and be careful!