Independence Day is regarded as the birthday of the United States.  The majority of Americans simply call it the "Fourth of July," as it falls on that same date every year.  The tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.  The fight for independence began In 1775 when the people from New England began fighting the British for their independence.  On July 2, 1776, Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain.  Two days later on July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved and the document was published.  In 1880, Independence Day was made an unpaid holiday for federal employees.  In 1941, Independence Day became a paid federal holiday.


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 thru the perilous fight,
      O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, 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?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh 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 washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and 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 home and the war's desolation!
   Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
   Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause 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

The history of the Star Spangled banner is extremely interesting. The lyrics were originally written as a poem by a 35 year old lawyer and amateur poet named Francis Scott Key.  The immortal poem was written by Key as he watched U.S. soldiers who were under bombardment from British naval forces during the war of 1812.  He watched as the soldiers raised a large American flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.   The following morning when Key saw the American flag was still flying above Fort  McHenry, he felt compelled to write the poem, "Defence of Fort M'Henry" which later became the Star-Spangled Banner.   In 1931 a congressional resolution signed by President Herbert Hoover made "The Star-Spangled Banner" the U.S. national anthem.

The Pledge of Allegiance

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 history of the Pledge of Allegiance is also quite interesting.  It was written in 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy.  In its original form it read: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  In 1923, the words, "the Flag of the United States of America" were added.  In 1954, President  Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31 word pledge we say today.

Back in the 1950s the flag signified we were one nation, we had a government with three equal parts, and we were proud of our history!  Kids were proud to stand with their hand over their heart and salute the flag as they recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  Americans were proud to stand with their hand over their heart and sing the Star-Spangled-Banner.

Patriotism was at an all time high in the United States during most of the 1950s.  Local parades were held in towns and cities across the U.S.  Kids rode bikes in local parades that they had spent days decorating with red white and blue crepe paper.  It was a day of  family celebrations with barbecues, picnics and baseball games. Local Elks, Chamber of Commerce and Lions Clubs held picnics for families that included gunny sack races, tug-of-war games and other outdoor activities.  American flags were seen flying at most homes and local businesses all across the Nation.  The highlight of the day was always the fireworks displays which started after dusk.


Fireworks have been with Americans since our nation’s beginning.  Fireworks were part of the very first Independence Day – a tradition that continues every 4th of July.  The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777. Americans now spend nearly $1 billion on fireworks each July 4th.

Presidential Patriotic Quotes

“Your love of liberty, your respect for the laws, your habits of industry, and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness.”- George Washington, 1st President  

“The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people’s hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice.” - John Adams, 2nd President  

"Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it." - John Quincy Adams, 6th President

“No amount of talking of what had been done in the Revolution would have availed anything if you had not had it in you to add to these great memories by the deeds which were to make, in their turn, forever memorable the years between the firing of Fort Sumter and Appomattox. So we come here together on the Fourth of July to see what a great people we are; to see how well the generations of our dead have done their duty.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President
"I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty." - Woodrow Wilson, 28th President
"Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country." - Calvin Coolidge, 30th President

“To the weary, hungry, unequipped Army of the American Revolution, the Fourth of July was a tonic of hope and inspiration. So is it now. The tough, grim men who fight for freedom in this dark hour take heart in its message–the assurance of the right to liberty under God–for all peoples and races and groups and nations, everywhere in the world.” - Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd President

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” - Harry S. Truman, 33rd President

“Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” - John F. Kennedy, 35th President

“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people. With no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.” - Ronald Reagan, 40th President

“I believe there’s an Almighty, and I believe the Almighty’s great gift to each man and woman in this world is the desire to be free. This isn’t America’s gift to the world, it is a universal gift to the world, and people want to be free.” - George W. Bush, 43rd President
“When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.” - Donald J. Trump, 45th President

Vintage Independence Day Postcards


Page Created 5/10/20