Happy birthday, America!

Known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the U.S. since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain, reports The History Channel. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. The night of July 2nd the Pennsylvania Evening Post published the statement: "This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States."


From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.


John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and reportedly turned down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Ironically, Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826--the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.


Drive safely, enjoy celebrations with your friends and family, eat hearty and drink a toast with whatever beverage floats your boat. Whatever criticisms we have with our legislators, we are lucky to live in the USA and enjoy its freedoms.