Monday, July 04, 2005

The History of Independence Day

I don't like to post more than 2 posts at the most in one day because people have the tendency to only read one or two posts at one sitting, however, after I posted two of them, I received this by e-mail and I couldn't let it go without sharing. I also want to do a little self promoting. I think my July 2nd post is my best ever, and I didn't copy and paste any of it. It is all from my own brain. I welcome whatever comments you have, so please read that one if nothing else.

The History of Independence Day

Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States of America commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At the time of the signing the US consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of England's King George III. Leading up to the signing, there had been growing unrest in the colonies surrounding the taxes that colonists were required to pay to England. The major objection was "Taxation without Representation" -- the colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.

Rather than negotiating, King George sent extra troops to the colonies to help control any rebellion that might be arising. The following timeline will give you a crash course in the history that lead to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and America's break from British rule.

1774 - The 13 colonies send delegates to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to form the First Continental Congress. While unrest was brewing, the colonies were far from ready to declare war.

April 1775 -- King George's troops advance on Concord, Massachusetts, prompting Paul Revere's midnight ride that sounded the alarm "The British are coming, the British are coming."

The subsequent battle of Concord, famous for being the "shot heard round the world," would mark the unofficial beginning of the American Revolution.

May 1776 -- After nearly a year of trying to work our their differences with England, the colonies again send delegates to the Second Continental Congress.

June 1776 -- Admitting that their efforts were hopeless, a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Iindependence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman.

June 28, 1776 -- Jefferson presents the first draft of the declaration to congress.

July 4, 1776 -- After various changes to Jefferson's original draft, a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration; 2, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No; Delaware was undecided and New York abstained.

John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. It is said that he signed his name "with a great flourish" so "King George can read that without spectacles!"

July 6, 1776 -- The Pennsylvania Evening Post is the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.

July 8, 1776 -- The first public reading of the declaration takes place in Philadelphia's Independence Square. The bell in Independence Hall, then known as the "Province Bell" would later be renamed the "Liberty Bell" after its inscription - "Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof."

August 1776 - The task begun on July 4, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was not actually completed until August. Nonetheless, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence from Britain.

July 4, 1777 -- The first Independence Day celebration takes place. It's interesting to speculate what those first 4th festivities were like. By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were firmly established as part of American Independence Day culture

The Star Spangled Banner
The National Anthem of the United States of America, written by Francis Scott Key, is a song that stirs emotion in many a citizen. It can be an uplifting experience to be at a public event and join in the singing of this proud anthem.

But believe it or not, some people don't know all the words to the song. They may know how to fake it, lipsynching and mumbling during the opening festivities at Ball Games. But the fact remains, they do not know the words to the National Anthem!

Friends, don't let this happen to you. Before you head out for 4th of July festivities, take a moment to memorize the lyrics to the nation's most important song.

For the purposes of the average public celebration, knowing the first verse of the anthem is plenty to get you by. True purists, however, will want to know all four verses.

The Star Spangled Banner
By Francis Scott Key
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Whoa! I had no idea there was more than the one verse.

Thanks for the history lesson.

Bernadette said...

A rich and timely post--good work!

Regarding the singing of our anthem at ball games: Perhaps people would be good enough to remember to remove their hats during and to refrain from clapping afterwards? And, can we ever again hope for a singer with a marvelous voice and a dignified and reverent demeanor? Dreaming...

tugboatcapn said...

I love history lessons! We can't know where to go if we don't know where we have been...
Mark, you write as many posts as you want every day, I will read them all.

FrenziedFeline said...

Bonnie, I totally agree with you. My sister sang the anthem at the minor league's hockey game in her city. I still haven't seen the recording, but I'm sure she did it right because it bugs her, too.

I can't recall knowing whether to clap after the national anthem or not. We shouldn't? (Just wondering.)

Mark said...

Personally, I think we should clap after the National Anthem. Our country deserves at least that.

Etchen said...

A history buff? Oh I think I'm in love! I think not only should people clap, but more people should put their hand over their heart while it is being sung. It seems like a small mirale nowadays to hav people even take off their ballcaps during it.

Your Yiddish Bubby said...

CLAP need to lighten up Bonnie and get into the mood.......Clapping is an outward sign of approval/a way of non verbal appreciation. PSSSSSTTTTTTTT we are all not blessed with Marvelous voices, its nice to see a non perfect singer try try try.....oy vey

Mark said...

That last comment was just ...troubling

Your Yiddish Bubby said...

Why so Mr Mark?

Your Yiddish Bubby said...

Why so Mr Mark?

Mark said...

just kidding, bubby, thanks for stopping by

Your Yiddish Bubby said...

You had the Bubby upset. I enjoy your blogs. Glad you were just pulling this old ladys leg.

mrsbaumann said...

Reading this blog - Looking for information on clapping after the National Anthem. I was taught by the "Ladies' Auxillary" in my hometown that you put your hand over your heart during the pledge - taking an oath. Then during the anthem, you sing and NEVER clap afterward. The clapping is giving attention to the performer when the most important part of the performance should be the counrty recognized by the song. Therefore, when you applaud the performer you are degrading the flag and country by putting them in second place. I still teach this to my 8th graders as well.