Today, on July 4th, 1776, we Americans proclaimed our freedom from Britain. Whether the reasons or thoughts behind the war were justified or not, for the next 7 years our country would be at war, finally ending on September 3rd, 1783.
Though Thomas Jefferson presented his declaration for signing on July 4th the document was not signed by all of the Continental Congress until August. Travel time and weather prevented all the signatures from actually be done on the same day.
The Siege of Yorktown ended the war. This could not have happened without the assistance of the French, particularly their navy who kept British rescue ships from reaching the troops trapped inside the fortress. This is not to diminish the efforts of the Americans who were mainly farmers and townsfolk who fought the professional armies from Europe. The few soldiers in America divided themselves being loyal to England and the freedom fighters.
Though in thought, and mind, we remained very British, we were different simply because of the needs and challenges facing Americans. Europe was set in their life styles while Americans were still discovering new lands.
Today we celebrate with fireworks, among other traditions, brought on by the Star Spangled Banner, though Francis Scott Key did not write the anthem until the War of 1812, the rockets red glare over the fort at Baltimore. Since it was still against England, I guess it counts!
How to celebrate – Go to a fireworks show. (If you do fireworks of your own be careful. I have seen people blow their fingers off trying to do their own.) Have a picnic. (Which many civilians did while watching the battles take place in front of them during the war.) If just for today, take pride in being American.