Friday, July 3, 2015

4th of July with Pomp and Parade

Independence Day, always on the 4th of July, commemorates the day in 1776 -- not of our independence, but of the final wording of our Declaration of Independence and the commitment of 56 men who signed it a few weeks later.   Most were well-educated and wealthy ~ 24 lawyers, 11 merchants, nine farmers and plantation owners among them.  These men knew the high price of freedom, and with their signatures, they pledged their very lives and worldly belongings to fight for liberty and justice for all.  Because they sacrificed all they had, we have lived in freedom 239 years. 

By the end of the Revolutionary War, most of these men were dead or living in poverty.  They lost family members and property, and some were among the 25,000 killed in battle or captured and tortured before death.  Another 25,000 were wounded. 

One day before this historic document was approved, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail that the occasion should be celebrated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” The first Independence Day fireworks were set off July 4 the following year. 

All around the greater Tampa Bay, towns, beaches and entertainment venues take seriously this all-American holiday.  Parades, special cruises, beach activities, arts and crafts, food vendors, patriotic music, children's games and contests and more sport red, white and blue as people gather in joyous throngs.  Kids decorate bikes and ride in an old-fashioned, flag waving parade followed by a treasure hunt at Gulf Beaches Museum, and the American Legion Auxiliary hosts a patriotic parade on Safety Harbor's Main Street.  The Florida Aquarium, American Victory Ship, Lowry Park Zoo, Museum of Fine Arts and other venues offer fun-filled entertainment for the whole family.

This link has a list of many of our areas July 4th weekend activities. Tampa Bay 4th of July Events

And they all culminate in a star-spangled display of fireworks that sends ooh's and aah's heavenward with each burst of color.  Fireworks come in many different styles with the goal to produce four primary effects: noise, light, smoke and floating materials.  They are designed to burn with flames and sparks in many colors, with red, blue and white or silver dominating the 4th of July night sky. 

Fourth of July celebrations became more popular as the nation grew, and some speculate that the deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4 may have spurred on the idea.  It wasn't until 1870, however, that Congress declared that the 4th of July be a national holiday. 

So, from the beach to the backyard barbecue, as you prepare to celebrate, remember what Americans have done to achieve and preserve our freedom.  Wave that flag and stand tall and be proud of the USA. 

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