Fourth of July: Fireworks are back (mostly) as Americans celebrate Independence Day

Fireworks from a White House balcony July 4, 2000, courtesy of the White House Fourth of July portal, which is linked below in this article.

SUNDAY, JULY 4: Barbecues are firing up and backyard celebrations will be plentiful this Fourth of July, as many public events return across America.

The staff at Parade magazine embarked this year on an exhaustive 50-state tour of top fireworks destinations. After all that research, Parade concludes: “Unfortunately, last year, firework displays were canceled in many places around the country due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Thankfully, restrictions have started to lift in most states as more and more people get vaccinated, and firework extravaganzas are returning to communities for the Fourth of July 2021!”

Shooting off your own fireworks this year? Get safety tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Seems as though editors nationwide had the same idea, because the Forbes magazine staff researched a slightly different approach to holiday recommendations nationwide, headlined: Creative Fourth Of July Suggestions, From Mini-Cruises To The Country’s Oldest Parade

Then, the editors at Delish magazine came up with yet another slant on the story: The 11 best Fourth of July Sales This Year.

One of the big news stories this summer is the return of a White House Fourth of July celebration. Want to know more? The White House website has a multi-media rich portal about the history of Fourth of July observances, dating all the way back to Thomas Jefferson.

Our tip on all of these events is: Plan ahead and check locally for the latest details. While many venues are running full scale—many are not yet back on the calendar. One big disappointment in the Chicago area, this year, is that Navy Pier has decided to cancel its July 4 fireworks display for a second straight year. Even though public health officials are opening up big venues to the public, the Navy Pier staff announced that they could not scramble fast enough to schedule their signature pull-out-all-the-stops pyrotechnic display this summer. They’re telling Chicago fireworks fans to come back in 2022.

JULY 2 and JULY 4

With the fledgling battles of the Revolutionary War in April 1775, few colonists considered complete independence from Great Britain. Within a year, however, hostilities toward Great Britain were building and the desire for independence was growing, too. Thomas Paine’s 1776 pamphlet, “Common Sense,” fueled the unifying aspiration for independence. Though the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain took place on July 2, 1776, it was two days later—July 4—when the Second Continental Congress gave its approval.

July 4th colonial

The Fourth of July in Philadelphia, 1819. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



The year was 1776, and the weather was stifling hot as a brand-new nation was being formed. In June of that year, the Continental Congress appointed a five-person committee to draft a formal statement that would vindicate the break with Great Britain: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson, considered the most articulate writer in the group, crafted the original draft. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress officially declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain; a total of 86 changes were made to the draft before its final adoption on July 4, by the Second Continental Congress.

One year following, in 1777, Philadelphia marked the Fourth of July with an official dinner, toasts, 13-gun salutes, music, parades, prayers and speeches. As the new nation faced challenges, however, celebrations fell out of favor during ensuing decades. It wasn’t until after the War of 1812 that printed copies of the Declaration of Independence again were widely circulated, and festivities marked America’s Independence Day.

Fast fact: Congress declared July 4 a national holiday in 1870.


A salute of one gun for each U.S. states is fired on July 4 at noon by any capable military base, and in the evening, A Capitol Fourth—a free concert broadcast live by PBS, NPR and the American Forces Network—takes place on the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C. The White House has announced that President Trump plans to host an Independence Day celebration again this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, with military demonstrations, fireworks and a speech.

Fourth of July treat

Photo courtesy of Piqsels


Get out those red, white and blue decorations and recipes!

From the perfect grilled steak to a fresh-fruit patriotic cake, find recipes from Martha Stewart, AllRecipes, Food Network, Food & Wine, Rachael Ray and Real Simple.

For party and decor tips, check out HGTV’s easy entertaining ideas, Americana style suggestions and backyard party tips. Reader’s Digest offers 21 fun party games fit for any celebration of the Fourth.

Kids can craft decorations or their own apparel with help from and

Crowds gathered on the White House South Lawn for the Fourth of July in 1980, another historic photo courtesy of the White House July 4 portal. Click on this photo to visit that portal.



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