The Fourth of July, more formally known as Independence Day, commemorates the day in 1776 when the American colonies of the British Empire adopted the Declaration of Independence and formally broke from Great Britain. The Declaration, penned by Thomas Jefferson, is a foundational document of the United States and is considered a masterpiece on the ideals of self-determination, human rights and democratic belief.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — Preamble, Declaration of Independence
American flags and red, white and blue bunting are favorite decorations for the holiday. Typical Fourth of July celebrations include hometown parades, picnics and backyard barbecues. Since the holiday falls in the hot days of mid-summer, seasonal, hot-weather fare is popular.
All-American favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs rule the day, along with potato salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob, pie, cobbler, watermelon and ice cream. If the day is extra hot, pitchers of ice tea and fresh lemonade are quickly drained, and coolers of soda-pop and ice cold beer are soon filled with nothing but puddles of melting ice.
Independence Day is often finished up with patriotic music in the park and a final display of colorful fireworks at sundown. "Ooooos" and "aaaahs" from the crowd are obligatory.