What is Independence Day and why is July 4 important?

United States flags blow in the wind

“America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand” – President Truman. (Picture: Getty)

Today- July 4 – is a federal holiday known as Independence Day in the USA.

There will be plenty of hype about the day across the pond – think fireworks and plenty of Stars and Stripes – but not so much over here (for reasons that will become clear later in the article).

If you still only think about the Will Smith film when you hear the words ‘Independence Day’, here’s the history you need to know…

What is Independence Day?

On July 4, 1776 The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress.

This was a letter sent to King George III formally explaining why the Continental Congress voted to declare independence from the British Empire.

It was intended to justify a revolt against the British with a list of charges against King George III.

Sparkler and American flag

It celebrates the land of the free and the home of the brave. (Picture: Getty)

The main issues were taxation and a lack of control over their affairs, and this declaration marked the beginning of a war for independence against the British.

These days, Independence Day is a nationwide celebration in the US, with loved ones coming together to often enjoy BBQs, picnics and parades.

Other typical activities include hot dog or watermelon eating competitions, baseball games and firework displays.

Burgers, BBQs and beer could be the order of the day if you have any American friends or family. (Picture: Getty)

The intention is to celebrate the American tradition of political freedom, and the freedom that the nation seeks to symbolise and embody to this day.

In the UK we don’t formally celebrate 4 July, since it’s obviously the day the US decided to leave the Empire.

However, with plenty of Americans moving over here, and with many of us happy for a good reason for a party, events are becoming more prevalent.

So, if you see some American flags being waved around and hear the cries of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the USA’, be sure to wish them a Happy Fourth!

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