INDEPENDENCE DAY - JULY 4 TH
Although July 4 th is celebrated as America 's official split from Britain 's rule and the beginning of the American Revolution, the actual series of events show that the process took far longer than a single day. The original resolution was introduced by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia on June 7, 1776 , and called for the Continental Congress to declare the United States free from British rule. Three days later a committee headed by Thomas Jefferson was appointed to prepare an appropriate writing for the occasion.
The document that we know as the Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4 th although the resolution that led to the writing of the Declaration was actually approved two days earlier.
All of this had occurred with some of the delegates to the Congress not even present; New York , for example did not even vote on the resolution until July 9 th .
Even more interesting is the fact that not a single signature was appended to the Declaration on July 4 th . While most of the fifty-six names were in place by early August, one signor, Thomas McKean, did not actually sign the Declaration until 1781.
evertheless, July 4 th was the day singled out to mark the event of the United States establishing itself as a nation.
The United States flag has 13 stripes. Seven are red and 6 are white. It also has 50 white stars on a blue background. The stripes represent the 13 original colonies. The 50 stars represent the 50 states in the U.S.
The first U.S. flag was designed in 1777. The flag has been changed many times since then. New stars are added each time a new state joins the union.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
During the night of September 13, 1814, the British fleet bombarded Fort McHenry in the harbor at Baltimore, Maryland. Francis Scott Key, a 34-year old lawyer-poet, watched the attack from a deck of a British prisoner-exchange ship. He had gone to seek the release of a friend but they were refused permission to go ashore until after the attack had been made. As the battle ceased on the following morning, Key turned his telescope to the fort and saw the American Flag was still waving. The sight so inspired him that he pulled a letter from his pocket and began to write the poem which eventually was adopted as the national anthem of the United States - "The Star Spangled Banner".
The poem was written to match the meter of the English son, "To Anacreon in Heaven." In 1931 the Congress of The United States enacted legislation that made "The Star-Spangled Banner" the official national anthem.
The modern score of "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and the slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our case it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Francis Scott Key (1779 - 1843)
THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The Pledge of Allegiance received official recognition by Congress in an Act approved on June 22, 1942. However, the pledge was first published in 1892 in the Youth's Companion Magazine in Boston, Massachusetts top celebrate the 400 th anniversary of the discovery of America.
In its original version, the pledge read "my flag" instead of "the flag of the United States." The change in the wording was adopted in 1923. The phrase "under God" was added to the pledge by a Congressional act approved on June 14, 1954.
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
THE LIBERTY BELL
Cast in London , England in 1752, the Liberty Bell rang when the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence and has become the symbol of freedom in the United States . The bell weighs about 2000 pounds and is made mostly of copper (70%) and tin (25%).
Made for the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), the Bell was ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges. Shortly after its arrival in Philadelphia the Bell cracked. Local craftsmen recast the bell using the metal from the old bell, but this one also proved defective. A third was cast by John Pass and John Stowe. Their names appear on the bell, along with the city and date, along with this inscription:
"Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof - Lev.XXV, v.x. By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania (sic) for the State House in Philada.
NOTE: The spelling of " Pennsylvania " was not at that time universally adopted. Pensylvania was an accepted alternative spelling throughout the 1700's/
On June 7, 1753 , the bell was hung in the tower of Independence Hall; however, during the American Revolution, in 1777, British troops captured Philadelphia . For safekeeping, the bell was moved to Zion 's Reformed Church in Allentown , Pennsylvania . It was returned to Philadelphia in 1778.
As tradition, the bell was run on every July 4 th and on every state occasion until 1846. Not everyone agrees on when the first crack appeared on the Liberty Bell, but by 1848 a thin crack began to affect the sound of the bell. It was repaired so the bell could be tolled for Washington's birthday on February 23, 1846 . In order to repair the bell, a slot was carved along the length of the crack that prevented the two side of the bell from vibrating against each other. Two rivets were inserted in this slot to control the vibration of the two sides and restored the bell's tonal quality.
Today, the Liberty Bell hands in Philadelphia at the Liberty Bell Pavilion on Market Street for al to see and is still gently run each July 4 th .
For more information.
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
The Statue of Liberty is located in New York Harbor , the Statue of Liberty was a gift of international friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is one of the most universal symbols of political freedom and democracy.
The Statue represents a woman escaping the chains of tyranny. She holds a torch, which represents liberty. The Statue's full name is 'Liberty Enlightening the World'.
The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and was designated a National Monument on October 15, 1924 . The Statue was extensively restored in time for her spectacular centennial on July 4, 1986 .
Liberty Island is federal property located within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of New York .
For complete information on the Statue of Liberty.
THE BALD EAGLE
The bald eagle is a large, powerful, brown bird with a white head and tail. The Founding Fathers chose the bald eagle to be the national bird of the United States in 1782. This majestic bird can only be found in North America .
The word "bald" does not mean that this bird has no feathers. Instead, it comes from the word piebald, an old word which means "marked with white".
For more information on the 'Bald Eagle'.
THE GREAT SEAL OF THE UNITED STATES
On July 4, 1776 , Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were given the task of creating a seal for the United States of America . The delegates of the Constitutional Convention believed an emblem and national coat of arms would be evidence of an independent nation and a free people with high aspirations and grand hopes for the future.
The Great Seal was finalized and approved six years later on June 20, 1782 . The seal reflects the beliefs and values that the Founding Fathers wanted to pass on to their descendents.
In the center of the seal is an bald eagle, our national bird. It holds in its beak a scroll inscribed E pluribus unum, which is Latin meaning "out of many, one" and stands for one nation that was created from 13 colonies. In one claw is an olive branch, while the other holds a bundle of thirteen arrows. The olive branch and arrows "denote the power of peace and war."
A shield with thirteen red and white stripes covers the eagle's breast. The shield is supported solely by the American eagle to denote that Americans should rely on their own virtue. The red and white stripes of the shield represent the states united under and supporting the blue, representing the President and Congress.
The color white signifies purity and innocence, red, hardiness and valor; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Above the eagle's head is a cloud surrounding a blue field containing thirteen stars, which forms a constellation. The constellation denotes that a new State is taking its place among other nations.
The seal's reverse side is sometimes referred to as the spiritual side. It contains a 13-step pyramid with the year 1776 in Roman numerals at the base. At the top of the pyramid is the Eye of Providence and above is the motto Annuit Coeptis, meaning "it (the Eye of Providence) is favourable to our undertakings" or "He favors our undertakings." Below the pyramid a scroll reads, Novus Ordo Seclorum, meaning "New Order of the Ages." It refers to 1776 as the beginning of the American new era.
The Great Seal can be seen on the back of a one-dollar bill. The Secretary of State is the official custodian of the seal. It is only attached (affixed) to certain documents, such as foreign treaties and presidential proclamations. The Great Seal is displayed in the Exhibit Hall of the Department of State, in Washington , D.C.
For more information on the Great Seal.
Uncle Sam, a figure symbolizing the United States , is portrayed as a tall, white-haired man with a goatee. He is often dressed in red, white, and blue, and wears a top hat.
The exact origins of Uncle Sam as a symbol for the United States are unknown. The term Uncle Sam was originally used as a derogatory term for American troops during the War of 1812. During that war, Samuel "Uncle Sam" Wilson, a businessman from Troy , N.Y. , supplied the Army with beef in barrels. The barrels were labelled " U.S. " to show that they belonged to the U.S. government. Perhaps this led to the use of "Uncle Sam" as a nickname for the United States . In 1961, Congress passed a resolution which recognized Samuel Wilson as the inspiration for the symbol Uncle Sam.
The most famous picture of Uncle Sam appeared on an Army recruiting poster. The poster was designed in World War I, and was used again in World War II. The caption reads "I Want You for U.S. Army". James Montgomery Flagg drew this picture, and served as the model too!