July 4, 1776, the day the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was completed. Although a historic day, the act of its completion was not made public until July 8, 1776. And it took a few more months before all 56 signatures were added to the document.
In the early decades following the historic day, little attention was given to any celebration. The young country was too busy dealing with constant changes and growth and just learning to function as a society free from the overbearing rule of government of a far-off land.
In 1870, almost a century after the Declaration became public, Congress declared July 4 to be a national holiday. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1938 and 1941.
To this day, July 4 is a national holiday, and the celebrations continue. We take time to gather with friends and family, feasting on a summer meal, splashing in the water of a pool, lake, or sprinkler, then often finishing the day watching a display of fireworks.
This year, when we gather, let's enjoy and make memories but also remember the acts of heroism and bravery, which laid the foundation of this nation.
There is no way the forefathers knew when writing the document, declaring independence, that we would need their words, more than ever.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...