4th Of July Fireworks

The bright, fiery explosions of 4th of July fireworks make Independence Day a roaring celebration. They blast into the sky as the many onlookers watch in awe. This day doesn’t seem complete without the colorful explosions. How did we get this strange, beautiful tradition? We’re here to give you some fun facts about these firework celebrations.

The History

The first months of the Revolutionary War were underway. On July 1st, 1776, the Continental Congress delegates were busy debating over whether the 13 original colonies should declare their independence both from the Parliament in Britain and King George III. As they were debating, news came that British ships were in the New York Harbor. They were a considerable threat to the Continental troops. Fast forward to July 2nd, the delegates from the colonies voted in favor of independence. Nothing was signed yet as the final drafts needed to be put into motion. John Adams was one fellow that was very excited about this news. He wrote his wife, Abigail, exclaiming that July 2nd, 1776, would be one that would go down as the best in history. We know now he was off by two days. This is because it was actually on July 4th, 1776, that the final revision of the Declaration of Independence was finished. The delegates made 86 changes to Thomas Jefferson’s original draft before officially adopting it. It must be noted most of the delegates didn’t sign it until August 2nd, 1776.

The First Parties

Of course, there were many celebrations as the final draft made its rounds. There were the first public readings on July 8th, 1776, as well as many parties. The first organized celebration of the United States’ Independence Day was held in Philadelphia on July 4th, 1777. People all over celebrated their independence. The armed ships were drawn up before the city. They were decorated with streamers and with the colors of the United States. Red, white, and blue were loud and proud. Each ship fired a 13-gun salute. They had a celebratory dinner, performances by a band and a military demonstration. The fun didn’t end until the ringing of the bells. Best of all, there were 4th of July fireworks. These began and ended with thirteen rockets shooting into the sky. The skyline was illuminated with bright, exploding fireworks to celebrate America’s independence.

Adams and Jefferson Lived To See 50 Celebrations

John Adams was right about the month of July. Adams and Thomas Jefferson lived to celebrate 50 years of the country’s independence. The 50th anniversary fell on July 4th, 1826. Adams held on until that day, passing that night at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts. Jefferson passed five hours before Adams in Virginia. Little did they know their special day would become a federal holiday after their death.

Recognizing America’s Birthday

John Adams’ Boston was all about those fireworks. After this, many different cities started their own celebrations. They had picnics, parades, speeches, and displays of fireworks. 4th of July fireworks were exciting, but they weren’t enough for many years to make the day a federal holiday. Massachusetts recognized it as an official holiday on July 3rd, 1783. Congress decided to designate the first four federal holidays in 1870. They started with New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas for the entire nation. The only distinction was that the 4th of July was only a holiday within the District of Columbia. It took years to expand.

The American Flag Was At The First Celebration

June 14th, 1777, was just a month before those first 4th of July fireworks flew into the sky. The Continental Congress passed a resolution on that day to create our very first flag. It had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes alternating in red and white. The Union was thirteen stars, white on a blue field, which represented a new constellation. Some say Betsy Ross probably didn’t sew that first American flag. The new flag was in circulation by that June, so someone got it up and flying for those first parties in Boston and Philadelphia.

The Increasing Popularity of 4th of July Fireworks

The fireworks celebrations continued to grow in popularity. The War of 1812 brought the United States into another conflict with Britain. It was more popular to celebrate with fireworks in these days than cannon and gunfire. This is because of safety concerns raised by these types of celebrations. They were quickly replaced with fireworks.

The Oldest Celebration In America

Bristol, Rhode Island was celebrating Independence Day 85 years before the day was recognized as a true holiday. They get the well-deserved title as “America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration.” Two years after the Revolutionary War ended, the party began. The town has about 23,000 residents, and it celebrates Independence Day roughly from June 14th on Flag Day through July 4th. Each year they not only have fireworks but also have live music, food, and parades.

NYC’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular

New York City blows everyone out of the water with their fireworks display. They have more than 14,000 public fireworks shows. The Macy’s Show has been one of the biggest and best parties shooting off fireworks over the East River for more than four decades. They shoot off more than 75,000 individual shells. It costs the retailer about $6 million per year. The show lasts about 25 minutes. They fire off more about 3,000 shells per minute. The show itself takes about ten days to set up.

The 4th of July is a fun, festive time for the entire family. It’s important to stay safe and have lots of fun. Remember those that fought for the independence of America. Those 4th of July fireworks represent freedom, liberty, justice, and one nation standing together.