The founders of our new nation and thirteen colonies considered Independence Day an important occasion for rejoicing. The first Independence Day was observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776. The Declaration was read, bells were rung, bands played, and the population rejoiced. In early day, Independence Days were occasions for shows, games, sports, military music, and fireworks.
The exuberant use of fireworks and the firing of funs and cannons caused deaths and injuries in the early days. By the 1900s, people began a movement toward a “safe and sane” Fourth. Cities across our nation passed laws forbidding the sale of fireworks unless trained people were hired to explode them.
In 1941, Congress declared July 4th a federal legal holiday. Today, many communities stress the patriotic importance of the holiday and celebrate with programs, pageants, games and plays, athletic contests and picnics.
Happy Birthday America!