How many people in the United States of America know the history of our Independence Day celebrations? I bet a large portion of the population don’t even know it’s called Independence Day. They know it as ‘the 4th of July’.
There were thirteen original colonies which claimed their independence from England on July 4, 1776. On June 7, in 1776, Richard Henry Lee presented this famous resolution to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia:
On July 2, 1776, the Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the final wording of the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson was approved and published. Not all the colonies voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence. Nine voted in favor, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted no, Delaware was undecided and New York abstained from the vote.
The original document is kept at The National Archives in Washington DC, with John Hancock’s name being the largest signature so “King George can read that without spectacles.”
The DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) is a women’s organization which strives to keep history alive in the United States by honoring our ancestors who fought for independence from Great Britain. The organization was founded on October 11, 1890 and has had more than 950,000 women join in membership since the inception. Ground was broken for DAR Constitution Hall on June 22, 1928. The cornerstone was laid by Mrs. Calvin Coolidge on October 30, 1928, using the trowel George Washington used to lay the cornerstone at the Capitol in 1793.
Any woman who has an ancestor who was a patriot or in service to the colonies is eligible to join, but must provide direct lineage proof leading back to that ancestor. Men may join the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution).
Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written. Let us join in remembering and honoring those men and women who fought for our freedom.