Celebrating America’s Birthday

In the spring of 1776, overwhelming support for independence swept through Britain’s thirteen North American colonies. Fiercely opposed to tyranny and taxation without representation imposed by their British colonizers, the colonies banded together and elected to take action in their struggle for freedom. On July 2, the colonies voted in the Continental Congress to approve a motion calling for separation from Britain. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, they formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, asserting their unalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. And so: America was born.


Today – July 4, 2013 – Americans on all corners of the Earth celebrate the 237th birthday of the United States. Independence Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on the ideals of Freedom and Equality that are at the core of our national character. With family and friends, we visit monuments of national importance, play sports and volunteer in our local communities, then light up the night sky with red, white, and blue fireworks displays. And, of course, no 4th of July celebration is complete without a barbecue.

One of America’s favorite pastimes is the summer barbecue, and, on the anniversary of our hard-fought independence, we pull out all the stops! Hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, mashed potatoes, and apple pie are traditional favorites, perhaps washed down with a glass of iced tea or lemonade. Strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream are featured prominently in the day’s desserts: their natural hues lend well to culinary interpretations of the Star Spangled Banner.



The most famous celebration of America’s Independence is held each year on the National Mall, a long, rectangular park that stretches from the U.S. Capitol Building to the Washington Monument. A free concert and nighttime fireworks display that draws over half a million people annually.



With fun and fanfare, we celebrate, more than anything, the ideals of freedom that 237 years later remain at the forefront of our national conscience. Today we celebrate because, true to our founding fathers, we still hold these truths to be self-evident: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, [and] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (U.S. Declaration of Independence).


Learn more about America’s birthday celebrations at www.pbs.org/capitolfourth/.

– Matthew Finney

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>