There is no holiday so quintessentially American as Independence Day, the Fourth of July, in which we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our separation from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776. The official break from England occurred two days earlier on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve independence from the Crown, but it was the Fourth of July that took on greater significance as this was the date written on the document signed by the members of that second congress, and the Fourth has been celebrated as the birthday of this great country ever since.
Our manner of celebrating hasn’t changed much over the years. The very first celebration, at Bristol, Rhode Island in 1777, featured speeches, music, red white and blue bunting, and fireworks. The following year, in 1778, General George Washington recorded giving his soldiers an artillery salute and a double ration of rum on the Fourth of July… so even drinking has a long history for our national holiday.
Here in Lake Worth, there will be a parade downtown and the annual neighborhood raft race across the lagoon, live bands at Bryant Park, and come nightfall, the City opens up the 1924 Municipal Golf Course so that folks can pile on to the greens and watch the fireworks exploding over the lagoon. It’s the same golf course that baseball legend Babe Ruth played a few rounds on back in the 1920s, so even the ground is drenched in Americana. It is always a magical evening, an entire community outdoors under the stars, folks camped here and there on blankets on the vast green lawn, the Atlantic breeze drifting in off the ocean and over the lagoon, onto the mainland. We ooh and aah as the fireworks illuminate the sky. We walk home grateful for all we have.