Happy Birthday America

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

july41776

To make it official John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. It is said that John Hancock signed his name “with a great flourish” so “King George can read that without spectacles!.”

The following day copies of the Declaration were distributed. The first newspaper to print the Declaration was the Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776. On July 8th the Declaration had its first public reading in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. Twice that day the Declaration was read to cheering crowds and pealing church bells. Even the bell in Independence Hall was rung. The “Province Bell” would later be renamed “Liberty Bell” after its inscription –

Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof

And although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence. The first Independence Day celebration took place the following year – July 4 1777. By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America’s birthday. And although fireworks have been banned in most places because of their danger, most towns and cities usually have big firework displays for all to see and enjoy.

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Received 2:42pm ET 7/4/2009

A day to celebrate and aspire

CSea —

This weekend, our family will join millions of others in celebrating America. We will enjoy the glow of fireworks, the taste of barbeque, and the company of good friends. As we all celebrate this weekend, let’s also remember the remarkable story that led to this day.

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, our nation was born when a courageous group of patriots pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the proposition that all of us were created equal.

Our country began as a unique experiment in liberty — a bold, evolving quest to achieve a more perfect union. And in every generation, another courageous group of patriots has taken us one step closer to fully realizing the dream our founders enshrined on that great day.

Today, all Americans have a hard-fought birthright to a freedom which enables each of us, no matter our views or background, to help set our nation’s course. America’s greatness has always depended on her citizens embracing that freedom — and fulfilling the duty that comes with it.

As free people, we must each take the challenges and opportunities that face this nation as our own. As long as some Americans still must struggle, none of us can be fully content. And as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed, that triumph — that pride — belongs to all of us.

So today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm’s way to preserve and protect it. It is a day to celebrate all that America is. And today is a time to aspire toward all we can still become.

With very best wishes,

President Barack Obama

July 4th, 2009

P.S. — Our nation’s birthday is also an ideal time to consider serving in your local community. You can find many great ideas for service opportunities near you at http://www.serve.gov.

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