The Fourth of July celebrates the day that the Continental Congress adopted, not signed, the Declaration of Independence. The actual document wouldn’t be completely signed until August.
On July 4th, 1777, the tradition of setting off fireworks began. Cannons fired from ships gave a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 American colonies.
1870 saw the first official bill establishing July 4th as an official holiday. It would be included in many bills throughout the years maintaining it as a federal holiday.
From that time on, July 4th has been recognized as the birth of American Independence. It is celebrated with fireworks, parades, concerts, and family picnics and barbecues.
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