Tomorrow is the nation’s birthday — or more accurately the 238th anniversary of the day the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted.
The nation’s forefathers actually voted for independence from England on July 2. John Adams, who led the movement for independence and was our second president, believed that the correct day to celebrate was July 2 and reportedly turned down invitations to join July 4 festivities, according to history.com.
Surprisingly, it took Congress nearly 100 years to declare Independence Day a federal holiday — that was done in 1870. Then, in 1941, all federal employees were granted a paid holiday that day.
That doesn’t mean Americans have only recently started to celebrate the holiday. They have been celebrating since 1777, according to history.com.
The first celebration was held in Philadelphia while the nation was still at war with England. Perhaps it was a way to boost morale. George Washington certainly did his part. As general of the Continental Army, he issued his men double rations of rum on July 4, according to the website.
But it wasn’t until after the War of 1812 that patriotic spirit overtook the nation each July 4 and celebrating became commonplace.
Although fireworks have been a part of Independence Day celebrations since that first year, early commemorations allowed political leaders to give speeches to help unify the fledgling nation.
Gradually, the political nature of the holiday began to fade and the celebrating part became the most noteworthy part of the day. Hurrah!
Patriotic parades and displays, barbecues and fireworks are practically synonymous with the Fourth of July. And unless you are traveling abroad, you don’t realize how American the holiday truly is. I discovered this years ago when I was in Amsterdam one July 4. To the Dutch, it’s just the day after July 3 and the day before July 5.
Regardless of Adams’ beliefs, or how early Americans and non-Americans marked the day, the Fourth of July is a day to celebrate and is a good reason to throw a party. Fortunately, for residents of Boulder City, a “Damboree” good time is planned.
The all-day festivities begin early — 7 a.m. — with a pancake breakfast at Bicentennial Park prepared and served by members of the Rotary Club of Boulder City and conclude around 10:30 p.m. at Veterans’ Memorial Park. In between there will be a parade, fun, games, music and, of course, fireworks. It’s a family-friendly celebration.
It’s going to be a hot time to be in Boulder City. I mean really hot. As in 107 degrees hot.
Those enjoying the parade can cool off in the approved water zone near the end of the parade route, where I expect a small flood. As was the case last year, water balloons are not allowed. They cannot be thrown by parade participants or spectators. The balloons’ contents damaged classic cars and scared horses in the parade, according to Bill Conger, chief of police administration.
And the problem escalated when people started freezing the balloons. Frozen water, while refreshing in a glass of tea, can hurt when it is thrown at you.
Just as water must be contained to one zone, Boulder City’s celebrating must take place in appropriate areas. That means the dry lake bed is off limits.
The City Council voted in January to close the dry lake bed this year because past gatherings were prone to illegal activities, such as using illegal fireworks, and grew to such proportions that the celebrants’ safety was in jeopardy.
If you thought closing the dry lake bed put a damper on the celebration, try marking the holiday when confined to a hospital bed, jail or worse.
Thousands of people are expected to be in town for the holiday. Let’s show them that Boulder City knows how to celebrate in style — and safely.
Happy Fourth of July.