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In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, or July the Fourth, is a federal holiday celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

Independence Day is a federal holiday, so all non-essential federal institutions, like the postal service and federal courts, are closed on that day. Similar to other summer-themed events, Fourth of July celebrations often take place outdoors. Many politicians make it a point on this day to appear at a public event to praise the nation’s heritage, society and people. Speeches and editorials may invoke American Revolutionary themes such as the founding fathers, including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Washington, the Constitution, the Liberty Bell, and democratic principles such as liberty, freedom, equality under the law, inalienable rights, and representative government.

Families often mark the Fourth of July with a picnic or barbecue, and take advantage of the long weekend or off-day to gather with relatives. Decorations like streamers, balloons and clothing generally are colored red, white, and blue due to the colors of the American Flag. Because Independence Day is in the summer, bathing suits have once in a while been given the American flag design. Parades are often held in the morning, baseball games played - July 4th being nearly halfway into the baseball season -, and fireworks displays in public parks in the evening. Other traditions include face painting for children and tossing of a football or frisbee.

The Charter of Freedom

The Declaration of Independence
Created: July 4, 1776
Location: National Archives and Records Administration
Author: Thomas Jefferson
Signers: Continental Congress
Purpose: Declare idependence from Britain

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