Archive for Holiday

Fourth of July History

Celebrating American independence is a time for festivities, communities coming together and, of course, fireworks. One of the most recognizable days in American history is less than a month away, so here’s some Fourth of July history in preparation for Independence Day from us here at Steet Ponte Mazda.

Fourth of July History

The original 13 colonies declared their independence from the British Crown on July 4th, 1776, effectively founding the great nation we live in today. The United States wouldn’t be where it is today without their bravery to do what many British territories couldn’t or wouldn’t. Despite its long history of celebrations, though, the Fourth of July was only made a federal holiday in 1941.

Prior to becoming an official federal holiday, the Fourth of July was commemorated by private citizens every year. The first celebration was held in Philadelphia in 1777. The patriotic celebration picked up greatly following the War of 1812. In 1870, the federal government recognized July 4th as a holiday, but it wasn’t until 1941 that it became a holiday for federal employees.

Today, the Fourth of July is celebrated with social gatherings, patriotic festivities, American flags, and the national anthem. Communities around the nation put on fireworks displays that light up the night sky every year.

The History of Memorial Day

Flags in front of graves in cemetary on Memorial Day

Graves of fallen service members decorated with flags for Memorial Day

An important holiday is coming up this weekend. Memorial Day is a day to honor service members who died while protecting our freedoms. It also unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Most Americans celebrate by visiting cemeteries or memorials or participating in family gatherings or parades.  But do you know the history of Memorial Day?

The first observation of Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) was on May 30, 1868. James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetary and thousands of gatherers helped to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate, with flowers, wreaths, and flags. However, this was only the holiday’s first national recognition. It was actually inspired by smaller local observances that took place in towns across the country in the years after the Civil War.

Fun fact: New York was the first state to make Memorial Day a legal holiday!

Following World War 1, it became known as a day to honor those who perished in any American war and was made a national holiday. In 1971, Congress established that day would be observed on the last Monday of May, solidifying the Memorial Day we celebrate today.