Independence Day - July 4th
Commonly called the 4th of July, this federal holiday celebrates the birth of America as a sovereign nation. The holiday was begun on July 4th, 1776 when the American forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence thus formally breaking our governmental ties to the Kingdom of Great Britain, though official independence began on July 2nd.
It was in 1791 that the name Independence Day was first used, but it wasn’t until 1870 that Congress made it a federal holiday. This most patriotic of holidays is actually the only one to honor the United States as a country and has been celebrated in many ways over the years. Today the festivities most closely linked to the holiday is the wearing of the nation’s colors and partaking in fireworks displays. Since 1777 a gun salute has also been a part of the 4th of July celebration with shots made for each of the colonies. Today this ‘salute to the union’ occurs only on Independence Day with a single shot made for each state.