Today is a day of great significance in our nation. It’s America’s birthday, the celebration of our declaration of independence from England.
For 243 years, every year, since the declaration was signed in 1776, people across the nation have marked the occasion.
Did you know that July 4 didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870, nearly a century after the nation declared its independence? Or that the Continental Congress actually voted to declare independence on July 2 and it took two days to formally adopt the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams, the nation’s second president and staunch supporter of the movement in the colonies to declare independence from Great Britain, knew the day would be marked with pomp and parades, games and illuminations, but he firmly believed that July 2 was true birthday of the nation and reportedly turned down invitations to celebrate on the Fourth, according to History.com.
Ironically, he and Thomas Jefferson, who was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, both died on July 4, 50 years later.
Shortly after the war, politicians used the day to address citizens and create a sense of unity.
As anyone who has been in Boulder City on July 4 — especially during an election year — can attest, little has changed. There are still parades, pomp, games and illuminations and plenty of politicians prepared to share their messages of unity.
While I’m sure that every community thinks its Fourth of July celebration is the best, few can compare with the daylong party that takes place in Boulder City. It seems rather fitting that the theme of this year’s Damboree celebration, the city’s 71st, is I ♥ Boulder City.
The Damboree is something I and many others look forward to each year. It’s definitely the highlight of July.
Anticipation for the festivities start in June as patriotic decorations begin showing up in front of homes and in area businesses. As more decorations are put up, enthusiasm for the celebration continues to grow.
When the big day finally arrives, there is so much to do from the early morning hours until well past sunset.
Boulder City’s party starts at 7 a.m. with a free (donations gladly accepted) pancake breakfast prepared and served by members of the Rotary Club of Boulder City.
Two hours later, the Boulder City Veterans’ Flying Group kicks off the parade, which travels through downtown. Seeing the pilots soar over Nevada Way always gives me goose bumps.
This year’s parade features 73 entries, with more than one-third prepared to join in the city’s — maybe the country’s — biggest water fight. It’s certainly one more aspect that makes Boulder City’s celebration so special.
Then community groups and the city’s Damboree committee draw upon our history for the food, fun and games in Broadbent Park that last throughout the afternoon.
And no Fourth of July celebration could be considered complete without a fabulous fireworks display. The sky will explode with festive colors starting at 9 p.m. after the party moves to Veterans’ Memorial Park for more food, fun and games, with entertainment by DJ Mike Pacini.
That might not be exactly what John Adams envisioned those many years ago, but it’s exactly what makes Boulder City the best place to be to mark our nation’s independence.
While you are out there enjoying the celebration, take a moment to remember all those who fought to give us our independence and the freedom to mark the occasion as we please.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.