Happy Fourth of July (Independence Day)
Independence Day is one of the most celebrated national holidays in the USA. It encompasses America’s love of freedom and its desire to look to the future.
To understand why this holiday is so important to both native and immigrant Americans, let’s look at its history and the way it’s celebrated.
What is Independence Day?
Every year, Americans honor the birth of the United States of America. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Independence Day, therefore, celebrates the country’s separation from colonial rule.
When America was first settled by Europeans, one of the main forces was Great Britain. The American Revolution broke out as a result, and, after a year of fighting, Great Britain had no choice but to accept the country’s independence.
There are many reasons why the war broke out, but they largely boil down to America’s core values: the desire to go it alone without answering to a distant king. The country had the ability to make money and wanted full control over how it did this.
Of course, the USA’s population at the time was still firmly considered immigrants. They came from European countries and could claim a maximum of 150 years’ history in the country.
After the first Independence Day, America took off on the world stage. Although it’s been its own country for nearly 250 years, the USA still takes a lot of pride in its history of independence.
How Americans Celebrate the 4th of July
Celebrations marking Independence Day began almost immediately. George Washington issued double rum rations for sailors beginning in 1778, and before then, Americans held bonfires to mark the day.
Independence Day became a federal holiday in 1870, and it became a paid holiday for federal employees in 1941. Although it’s not as political a holiday anymore, it’s still one of the most widely celebrated.
Today, the Fourth of July is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks, and a reason to fly the American flag. In fact, the tradition of letting off fireworks began in 1777 alongside cannon salutes.
A big part of the day’s celebrations is the president’s address. Each president uses it as an opportunity to highlight what they feel is the holiday’s purpose. For example, President Obama wished everyone a happy Fourth of July and recognized all the service members, veterans, and their families for their service to the United States of America.
Similarly, President Biden used it as a chance to celebrate America’s resilience and potential in the future. These are, after all, core American values.
Immigrants and Independence Day
Immigrants to the USA understand the importance of Independence Day. They’re regularly seen celebrating alongside native-born Americans because the day is for everyone. While it represents American freedom, it also stands for freedom of social movement and the ability to improve one’s life.
Perhaps part of the reason why immigrants understand the holiday so well is that it comes up on naturalization tests. Once eligible for citizenship, you must complete a civics test that covers history and politics.
Unsurprisingly, Independence Day comes up in an American civics test. To pass the exam, you’ll have to learn about its history and importance along with other national holidays.
Getting to America and Celebrating the 4th of July.
There’s no better time than the Fourth of July to celebrate all America can offer. As an immigrant, you have the potential for better work and education, better healthcare, and a generally better life for you and your family.
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