Fourth of July Facts

The Rockets' Red Glare...

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The bombs bursting in air...Gave proof through the night -  That our flag...Was still there.
The bombs bursting in air...
The bombs bursting in air... | Source
Gave proof through the night -
Gave proof through the night - | Source
That our flag...
That our flag...
Was still there.
Was still there.

What is the 4th of July?

In another article, we learned that in 1776, the Declaration of Independence had only two signers. There was no celebration party on July 4th 1776, although some folks think that there was. After that, the holiday was nearly forgotten in 1777. That history is found at An Odd History of the 4th of July.

In the middle of the summer and off from school and work for a bit, American families and friends plan all sorts of parties and get-togethers in order to celebrate the holiday. No matter whether they celebrate the day off form work or pay tribute to the nation's founding, crowds of people celebrate the 4th of July in America every year. American soldiers stationed elsewhere celebrate it as well, and so do Americans living and working abroad. Fourth of July parties spring up in Iraq and Paris on that day.

The holiday has come to have many symbols attached to it, the most prominent, I think, being Hot Dogs and Fireworks - Elvis Presley in a red, white, and blue spangled jumpsuit - and the film Independence Day, starring Will Smith.

Some of the older traditional symbols include the flag Old Glory, which flew sometime after the Revolution, in 1831, and the Statue of Liberty. See The New Nation for other important symbols. Additional and perhaps unexpected symbols of America that have faded into the background are found at Forgotten Symbols of America. These include a tree and a flower, a creed and a composer, among others.

July 4th can mean a lot of things and the following presentations provide three of my favorite memories of the 4th of July.

Stars and Stripes of Tribute

You've got to love a Scottish-American M.C. (Craig Ferguson) with a Boston Pops Director (Keith Lockhart), who both dress as firemen to commemorate the lives and work of the Protective Services during the 9/11 catastrophe and every day - remember these protectors on the Fourth of July in a grand concert including the Stars and Stripes march. Many military musical groups in the play it as well.

The Stars and Stripes Forever is a favorite military march by the legendary John Philips Sousa, who inspired my introduction to instrumental music in junior high school.

The President's Own United States Marine Band: Stars and Stripes Forever

This particular Sousa march was our favorite number in high school marching band and we and our director, a retired US Navy Officer, lengthened it by giving many sections of the band a feature part in addition to the usual sections -- We featured flute and piccolo, clarinets, brass, and large brass sections; the percussion section did their own version.

On stage in concert, we included the orchestra's violin section on their own and some of the first violinists could actually PLUCK the entire featured section. Not many bands perform in this way, let alone high school. We weren't perfect, but we tried something immense and pulled it off decently.

In a marching event, we'd stop a parade and each section would rush to the front before the drum major, perform, and rush back into ranks. People were laughing and crying by the time we'd marched past with the whole band booming the chorus.

This is my favorite memory of high school: the 4th of July band marches and concerts. Who needed fireworks?

A Muppet 4th with Sam the Eagle

Native American Ladies' Smoke Dance, July 2008

Native American 4th of July

Native Americans have served in the military in all wars fought by the United States, including the Revolutionary War, although some Native individuals fought for the British. Some fought on the side of the colonists, extending the relationship they had with them before the war to one of mutual defense.

Afterwards, Native Americans served in the US military in every war fought. Further, if not for the Navajo Code Talkers and another dozen Native American Nations that also supplied code talkers, World War II might have ended differently.

No one in the Axis Powers could handle Native American codes.

In the USA, there are 1000s of nations, bands, pueblos, communities and other groups of Native Americans. Among these, veterans and their families and communities celebrate Memorial Day, Veterans Day and the 4th of July in tribute to the military involvement and victories of the US, to those serving at home and overseas today, and to remember those lost in battle - both in the US military and long ago on the Native fields of battle in what is now America.

Native Americans remember over 10 Millennia of heroes on this continent and wave the US Flag in their July 4th Pow Wows.

Native American Veterans march in a Color Guard in each Grand Entrance in all Pow Wows of the Unitied States groups in which there are veterans available to participate. The July Pow Wows are often held closer to the time of the full moon - the Green Corn Moon, rather than on the 4th of July.

On the 4th of July, Native Americans may or may not participate in American festivities, as they wish. Most of them do and visit these pow wows every year.

Late June Pow Wow - Grand Entrance

National Pow Wow on July 4

As a young girl, I was in Washington DC on the 4th of July and witnessed the National Pow Wow of the US. The Mall was filled with people of all nations - not only Native American Nations, but most others as well.

A young Native American US Marine in uniform, aged 19 with a buzz cut, appeared on a platform on the steps of the Capital Building in front of where I was standing on the steps. He spoke of the history of a great nation, America, and of his Native American Nation, and how he was proud to be a member of both. He had just returned from a combat mission and would be returning soon.

He disappeared and returned in full dress men's fancy dance attire and performed a traditional men's dance to a huge crowd that was speechless. We heard only the drumming.

On the 4th of July each year, I remember this young man for his contribution to America and for his unwillingness to be embarrassed by his heritage, and I hope he has had a happy life.

The dance I saw that first 4th of July is much like the one portrayed below among Oklahoma peoples. 

Champion of Champions Fancy Dance 1996

More by this Author


More Symbols of the US - and Comments 15 comments

frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 7 years ago

Patty - being British, the 4th of July is just another day. I also know little about it, other than it's a big event in the American calendar. Thanks for this - I feel a bit more informed and enjoyed reading about your own memories and experiences.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the comments, frogdropping! You should see some of the celebrations that take up the entire land are of a city - parades, carnivals, contests, food, fireworks. Churches hold special services...Infact, our church has a lage stage area and the draperies on stage have lights sewn into them. On the 4th, a fireworks show is done via computer and the lights on the draperies, ending with Old Glory. It's a pretty big production.

Marching band was still my favorite.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

It sounds like you have a great time over there celebrating the 4th of July.

In France the National day is on the 14th of July and there are big firework displays in most cities and small towns. I believe that there is also a military parade in Paris to celebrate the taken of the Bastill


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Douns like a big day as well. That would make a good Hub, with video if it were available. The equivalent of 4th of July or Independence Days of many countries.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

Yes, that sounds like a great idea for those of us not familiar with the 4th of July. Thanks :)


frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 7 years ago

Patty - first thankyou for not showing the world of hubs what an eejit I am!

Second - I would love to participate in or be a spectator at a great parade/celebration. We do have them, as far as I'm aware, but nothing of note where I'm from.

I think we're known more for pomp and circumstance type parades. The Trooping Of The Colour for eg. Which is quite something to be fair. Maybe we're a little conservative?!


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

The Fourth of July is a really nice holiday here. Patty, I like that you chose The Boston Pops video. Each year, Boston has its amazing Esplanade gathering for the Fourth. The fireworks displays in the towns, and the morning festivities at places like parks are nice too. Kids decorate their bikes, ice cream is given out. It's just a nice, happy, holiday.

An interesting thing (for those who don't already know this) is that the only remaining two of the Nation's Founding Fathers (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) both died on the 50th anniversary of the nation's birth.


Guardian1 profile image

Guardian1 7 years ago

I loved the combination of videos on this hub. You feel like you're right there. It certainly serves to lift the spirits. You put a great effort out there. Thanks for the information and the entertainment.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

frogdropping, my good Hubber, I would love to see a Trooping of the Colour! It sounds grand. I saw the RCMP Musical Ride a few times at our state fair and loved the uniforms and horses. The Colour Guard in the parade must be magnificant.

Lisa HW - I jst read about the two Founding Fathers today in a book by Jim Leher, otherwise you are right - I would not have known this. The Boston Celebration is fantastic, to be sure.

Guardian1 - Our spirits certainly need lifting at least once a year - Glad you enjoyed this Hub!


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 7 years ago

Excellent hub, I really enjoyed the videos!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks, mulberry1 ! I love the videos and am glad you like them./


Tony 7 years ago

It's true that we don't have any festivals as large in England. I suppose Bonfire Night on 5th November used to be huge, but these days it's too commercial. The thing I find odd is that setting fireworks off in the middle of summer, it's still light out, whereas in November in England it's dark, damp and gloomy, therefore all the smoke hangs in the air for days. Very different.

Sad in many ways that in England we are not even 10% as patriotic as Americans.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Hi Tony and Deb - I thought perhaps there'd be a yearly celebration for the Queen or King, butprobably that's a birthday sort of thing. Firework dust in the damp air sounds very smoggy. Bonfire Night sounds like fun at one time.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 7 years ago from Central United States of America

Really liked your information about the 'forgotton' things. And thank you for reminding us to celebrate our freedom with THANKS to ALL the military persons who bought it for us!


mwaky profile image

mwaky 7 years ago

nice hub very ineresting!

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