As we all know, Independence Day, the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States. It is a day on which we celebrate the founding and independence of our nation. The Declaration of Independence, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, was adopted on July 4, 1776.
When we celebrate this Independence Day — with the usual fireworks, parades, family reunions, picnics and barbecues, and events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States — let us do so knowledgeably and safely.
To help us do so, the federal government has provided a number of resources about the history, meaning, and celebration of the Fourth of July on its official USA.gov website.
Facts about the History & Meaning of the Fourth of July Holiday
- Declaration of Independence – The text and information about this historic document from the U.S. Archives. The Declaration of Independence, drafted primarily by Thomas Jefferson and adopted July 4, 1776, expresses the political philosophy and ideals of individual liberty that formed the basis of this nation’s declaration of independence;
- Today in History – July 4 — From the Library of Congress, links to a number of documents and videos commemorating various special moments in American history;
- Fun Facts About July 4 – Statistics from the United States Census Bureau;
- U.S. Flag History and Facts – A 56 page (PDF) history of the U.S. Flag, printed by the U.S. Government Printing Office by resolution of the 209th Congress (2006);
- Historical Documents – Links from USA.gov to historical documents such as the Bill of Rights, Constitution of the United States, Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address, and more.
Celebrating the Fourth of July
- American Recipes – USA.gov features recipes from famous Americans, healthy recipes, kids’ recipes, cooking for a crowd, regional recipes, and wild game recipes;
- Patriotic Melodies – The Library of Congress provides a song collection of patriotic melodies;
- Help Your Country – USA.gov provides a list (with links) of ways you can volunteer, make a donation, or otherwise help and serve your country;
- Travel and Recreation in the U.S. – Links to information on air, road, and train travel, historic places to visit, and tourism resources.
- Firework Laws by State – A list from USA.gov of states that permit some fireworks as of June 1, 2013;
- Fireworks Safety – Information from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission on fireworks and firework safety;
- National Mall Celebration – Information from the National Parks Service on celebrating the Fourth of July in the Nation’s Capital;
- Find Celebrations at National Parks – An Event Calendar from the National Parks Service, listing events at the Nation’s National Parks.
Summer Safety Tips
- Cookout and Summer Food Safety – Four Steps to Food Safety from the USA.gov Blog;
- Travel Safety – Tips from USA.gov, linking to multiple government resources on both domestic and international travel;
- Pool and Hot Tub Safety – Tips of Pool and Hot Tub Safety from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission;
- Boating Safety – Tips on Boating Safety from the Boating Safety Resource Center of the U.S. Coast Guard;
- Skin Cancer Prevention – Tips on Skin Cancer Prevention from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
- Campfire Safety – “Smokey Bear” tips on campfire safety from the Advertising Council, Inc.
For more information, see USA.gov.
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