Old 07-04-2007, 08:51 AM   #1
Bexter
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Default 4th of July

Hello and happy 4th of July to you all, mines almost over and since I live in Australia, was exactly like every other day. Just wondering if you could give me a brief run down on its significance (I have a vague idea) and also how you celebrate it. However you choose to celebrate I hope its loads of fun.
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Old 07-04-2007, 09:05 AM   #2
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Default Happy 4th July

Hope all my American friends have a wonderful day today.

We don't celebrate it over here - as I said to an American friend yesterday - we weren't THAT pleased to get rid of you!

On behalf of Brits everywhere, maybe I should say - we forgive you, kiddos!
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leaper1
Hope all my American friends have a wonderful day today.

We don't celebrate it over here - as I said to an American friend yesterday - we weren't THAT pleased to get rid of you!

On behalf of Brits everywhere, maybe I should say - we forgive you, kiddos!
Thanks Helen, we appreciate it!

July 4, 1776, was the day the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, meaning the American colonies declared that they were now a separate nation, not part of the British Empire anymore. Then we had a big fight about it. But we got over it.

We usually celebrate with picnics and fireworks. Lots of fireworks. You know, "the rockets' red glare," to commemorate the battles. Or just because we like big colored lights in the sky and loud noises.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:15 AM   #4
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Here in Boston, it is, of course, a big deal. There are picnics and cookouts, but the whole city comes to a standstill at about 7 PM. The Boston Pops Orchestra (the popular music ensemble of the Boston Symphony Orchestra - led by the ever HOT Maestro Keith Lockhart) holds a concert on an enormous outdoor soundstage. When the weather is nice, like it is today (and even when it rains), a couple hundred thousand people will converge on the Esplanade, line the banks of the Charles River, or find the highest vantage point they can to listen and watch. There's a concert with a headliner (this years it's John Mellencamp - I would LOVE to see Scott do this concert, as it would be right up his alley) and lots of American-themed and American-written music. When John Williams was the Maestro, they used to perform a lot of his movie themes, like Star Wars and E.T.

The highlight is the 1812 Overture, of all things, which has nothing at all to do with America or the Revolutionary War. But the cool thing is that, at the end of the overture, with all the booms, they use real cannon, fired by the National Guard. I'm not sure if they still do this as well, but they used to ring the huge bells on the Old South Church (not the Paul Revere one) during the climax of the piece, too. They may be too fragile to use nowadays, but back in the day, the real cannon and real church bells sounded amazing. (They have special conductors who communicate by walkie-talkie to make sure the cannon come in on time with the music.) Then there's a 30 minute fireworks show set to music.

As I said, it's a huge deal here in Boston, where the Revolution started, and people come from all over the world to attend.

Here's a sample. It's okay to roll your eyes, but remember, you asked, Bexter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD_WcqmQBZU
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:20 PM   #5
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They still ring the bells at Old South...which is a bit of a distance from where the Esplanade is. I'd say if anyone was curious about seeing it, there's the national broadcase on CBS but they only joing the concert for the last part of it and the fireworks...which has meant that how the concert is actually presented had to be changed. Instead of the 1812 Overture being the last piece of the concert, with the Stars and Stripes Forever as the encore, it now ends the first half and the "headliner" has been moved to the end of the national broadcast. After all, wouldn't want to "bore" a national audience with a 15 minute piece of music. If I sound a little upset, you bet I am. I don't understand why a tradition that stood for about 20 years had to suddenly make way for a national broadcast. When Maestor Arthur Fieldler introduced the Boston Pops 4th of July Esplanade concert in 1974, he wanted a spectacular finish to the concert and to let all hell break loose which is why he chose the 1812. I guess the bigwigs at CBS know better than he did.

The howitzers fired during the 1812 Overture are provided by the National Guard.

Here's a link to a video on youtube with highlights of the 2005 concert - http://youtube.com/watch?v=JD_WcqmQBZU

I've also experienced the 4th in Colonial Williamsburg, VA and that was a great experience. It's much more low-tech than what we have here in Boston. The Declaration of Independence was read from the steps of the Courthouse (where it would have been read in 1776). The Courthouse is an original 18th Century building. After that, the Fife and Drum Corps did a salute the 13 original states and artillary was fired.

That night we went to a the Palace Picnic - a picnic held in the gardens of the Royal Governor's Palace (later the residence of the first governors of Virginia). Aside from the picnic dinner, there were 18th Centure entertainments and the evening culminated in a concert by the fife and drum corps and fireworks over the palace.
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:28 PM   #6
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I agree with you, Julia. PBS used to broadcast, without commercial interruption, and then would repeat it - which was cool because you could go to the concert, get home, and watch it up close on TV. Also, they didn't talk so damn much with stupid trivia the way the national broadcast "personalities" do. Plus, the national broadcast always leaves out the beautiful readings that happen in the middle of the concert.
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snish
Thanks Helen, we appreciate it!

July 4, 1776, was the day the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, meaning the American colonies declared that they were now a separate nation, not part of the British Empire anymore. Then we had a big fight about it. But we got over it.

We usually celebrate with picnics and fireworks. Lots of fireworks. You know, "the rockets' red glare," to commenorate the battles. Or just because we like big colored lights in the sky and loud noises.
Actually thats debatable. In Eigth grade history class we were told that it was thought to have actually been done I believe sometime in October. But, you ask, why then do we celebrate it today on July 4th? Well good question folks. It's just like Christmas, there is also a belief that Jesus was actually born in spring as opposed to the 25 of December.

Anyway Happy Indepence Day to all American Members.
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Sam Beckett Fan
Actually thats debatable. In Eigth grade history class we were told that it was thought to have actually been done I believe sometime in October.
I dunno, my encyclopedia says it was July 4. There should be plenty of historical documentation on this, so I don't know why there would be debate. Richard Henry Lee brought a resolution before the Continental Congress in June. They formed a committee to discuss it, Jefferson wrote the declaration, Congress debated it on the first few days in July, and it was approved on the 4th. Maybe there was some other important event or document in October.
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Old 07-04-2007, 06:05 PM   #9
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My memory from school is that it was approved and adopted on July 4, but the delegates didn't all sign until later, when the document was re-drafted into its final form and copies made by hand to read in various parts of the colonies. There were a lot of edits to the document.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:46 PM   #10
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Yeah that was what I learned Dana. But not everything in history can be clarified because people are stupid ans start rumorsso we never know I guess.
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedana
Here's a sample. It's okay to roll your eyes, but remember, you asked, Bexter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD_WcqmQBZU
I promise I didn't roll my eyes, it was really cool, I was feeling rather patriotic myself and I'm not even American. You know, though, if put Perth buildings in the backdrop, changed all the flags to Australian and played "I come from a land downunder" it looked just like the Australia Day celebrations down on Perth Foreshore, we even have the Bell tower now to ring bells (Do you remember the little kids rhyme Oranges and Lemons the Bells of St Clemens - well the bells of St Clemens were given the perth as a bicentenary gift, and they are housed in the bell tower on Perth Foreshore, so its now Oranges and Paw Paw the bells of Perth Foreshore - ha ha) Anyway I guess Celebrations are the same the world over. I was really interested in the history of it, I love history and also people enjoy telling their versions of history, so am happy to keep reading everyones interpretation.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:36 AM   #12
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Congress actually declared indepenence from Britain on July 2, 1776. The Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776. An excerpt from a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail, shows that Adams actually believed it was the July 2 date that would go down in history:

Quote:
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
After voting on the Resolution for Independence and declaring it on July 2, Congress spent July 3 and 4 debating the actual language of the document and editing and refining it. Despite the fact that Congress as a whole had a hand in what the final document is, Thomas Jefferson is credited with being the author of it...and a lot of what he wrote came from philosphers such as John Locke.

The original document that was adopted on July 4 was signed by John Hancock, president of the Congress and Charles Thompson, secretary. That copy of the Declaration no longer exists. A number of broadsides were then printed by John Dunlap of Philadelphia and sent to the states and various military commanders. Those copies were only signed by Hancock and Thompson and only a handful are known to exist today. The actual engrossed copy of the Declaration that we are familiar with and is displayed in the National Archives wasn't signed by all of the delegates until August 1776. Two delegates did not sign it - Dickenson of Pennsylvania who had hoped for reconcilliation and Livingston of New York who thought it prematurely done.
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Old 07-05-2007, 08:16 PM   #13
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I know i said it before but i really do love really peoples individual views on history, each person always has something to add that others may not know, its really fascinating and far more interesting and real that some boring old textbook. I am really really enjoying reading these and thanks so much everyone who has taken the time to post a response and I hope others have enjoyed them so far as well.
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Old 07-05-2007, 08:38 PM   #14
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Well, I wouldn't say I offered my "view" of history. What I've offered is historical facts that I've read in books. Studying 18th Century American history is a past time of mine and I've made it a point to read up a lot on it, have watched numerous PBS and History Channel series on the subject and have visited several of the National Parks pertaining to the American Revolution.

It's unfortunate that the textbooks provided in schools only give a very quick - sometimes convuluted - overview of what happened. For instance, it's a popularly held belief that on his famous ride Paul Revere called out "the British are coming". Well, if that's indeed what he had been calling out eveyrone would have been mighty confused since the colonist considered themselves British at the time. What Revere was calling out, though, is "The Regulars are out". The Regulars being the British army that was on the move from Boston.
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Old 07-06-2007, 12:53 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoniz
Well, I wouldn't say I offered my "view" of history.
You're right, 'view' is probably the wrong word, 'accumulated knowledge' would be better, as everyone learns different things as they go along.
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