The 234th birthday of the United States of America this year is being observed today. From coast to coast, skies will be filled with spectacular firework displays, parades and marching bands will be rolled out on Main Street USA and outdoor barbecues will sizzle with mouth-watering food to celebrate the birth of the nation. The United States came into being with the final approval of the Declaration of Independence authored by Thomas Jefferson. The legal separation of the colonies from Great Britain actually occurred two days before, on July 2nd after names such as John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were affixed to the revered national document. That’s when a vote of approval was given to a resolution of independence by the Second Continental Congress. Many Americans believe the Declaration was signed on July 4, 1776, but that’s not so. Most of the delegates to Congress at the time penned their names on the document August 2, 1776.
One of the founding fathers and the nation’s second president, John Adams, set the tone for how the Fourth of July should be observed. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, he wrote, “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, sports, games and guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward.”