Independence Day, July 4th, is the most important holiday in the United States. It celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. The day has always been the occasion for parades and patriotic speeches and for every variety of noisy jubilation. In fact, the firing of cannon and fireworks caused so many injuries, by the early 1900’s, ordinances forbidding private pyrotechnics were passed in many cities. Today, Fourth of July fireworks are largely handled by professionals.
The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is a pre-Revolutionary War relic that was first hung in 1753 in the newly finished Pennsylvania State House, the building that would eventually become Independence Hall. The bell is inscribed with the words Proclaim Liberty throughout the land. It was rung on the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, inaugurating an Independence Day tradition that was observed every year (with the exception of 1777-78, when the bell was removed and hidden from the British occupiers of Philadelphia) until 1846. That year a small crack enlarged to the point where the bell could no longer be sounded.
Perhaps the most famous symbol of the colonial struggle for independence, it is now housed in Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell provilion.