A day for grilling outside, watching fireworks, and paying tribute to the anniversary of our nation’s birth. Independence Day is celebrated on the Fourth of July to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence almost 241 years ago. At that time, the Continental Congress declared the original thirteen American colonies as its own nation and no longer under British rule.

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As early as 1777, Americans have been celebrating the birth of our great nation. On July 4th of that year, thirteen gunshots were fired once in the morning as well as at night in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia residents celebrated in a similar manner and ships in port were decked out in red, white, and blue bunting we still see in Independence Day decorations today.

Americans nationwide take the day to celebrate through fireworks, baseball games, fairs, and other activities as well volunteer, hold public and private events, and share their patriotism in numerous other ways.  There will be a Macy’s fireworks display in New York City that has been televised across the nation since 1976 on NBC and on the Capitol lawn in Washington, DC, there will be the annual A Capitol Fourth concert, which is broadcast and free to the public.

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On Independence Day, we also celebrate those who have fought to give us the very independence we are celebrating: our nation’s men and women in uniform. This year, the NASCAR industry salutes the military this weekend. NASCAR will continue their efforts to show appreciation for members of the military through their NASCAR Salutes Refreshed by Coca-Cola, NASCAR XFINITY Series. Drivers will have the names of various US active military units and installations displayed on their windshields during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway tonight.

Driver Matt Tifft will honor the 3rd Infantry Division based out of Ft. Stewart, GA; Brennan Poole will have “1BCT, 10TH MTN DIV” in honor of the 10th Mountain Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team stationed out of Fort Drum, New York; and Harrison Rhodes will pay tribute to the “56TH CIVIL ENGINEER SQ” based out of Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. In addition, three Medal of Honor recipients will also be recognized at Daytona.

Celebrating Independence Day can also come in the form of words. The Military Order of the Purple Heart recently held an essay writing contest in the state of Michigan on Americanism. Isabella Rosenthal was selected the third place winner with her essay on “Why We Celebrate Independence Day” at Central Middle School in Iron Mountain, MI.

Art exhibits, such as one in Santa Clarita, CA, concerts, and parades are also prominent ways to display patriotism and love of country. Other ways to show patriotism include going to visit VA medical centers for wounded veterans, visiting war memorials across the country, and writing letters to those who are serving our nation abroad and are not able to spend time at home enjoying the freedoms they are fighting for.

No matter how you choose to spend your Independence Day, be sure to thank a servicemember or veteran for their service to our great nation. Without their devotion to our country, we would not be able to live lives of choice and freedom within the United States of America.

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We at the Purple Heart Foundation are committed to offer assistance to those men and women who have served our country since its inception in 1776. It is our mission to help make the transition from the battlefield to the home front a smooth one for our men and women in uniform who have sacrificed for our freedom. You can show your support for these brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support they deserve by donating here.

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