Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Independence Day, as the only holiday celebrating the United States as a whole, is a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Many politicians make it a point on this day to appear at a public event to praise the nation's heritage, society and people. Families often mark the Fourth with a picnic or barbecue, and often gather with family relatives, taking advantage of the longer weekend or day off from work. Parades are often held the morning of the Fourth, afternoon baseball games are not uncommon, and the evening is usually marked by public displays of fireworks.
In many states, smaller fireworks are sold for personal use or as an alternative to a public show. Concerns about safety have led some states to ban fireworks or limit the sizes and types allowed, but illicit traffic brings some of the more powerful firecrackers in from less restrictive border states.
One colorful annual Independence Day event is the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City, which supposedly started on July 4, 1916 as a way to settle a dispute among four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic.
The town of Bristol, Rhode Island is noted for having the oldest, continuous Independence Day celebrations in the United States.
Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball games are also played on Independence Day. Since 1959, NASCAR has held the Pepsi Firecracker 400 on July 4th, or the Saturday of July 4th weekend.
Despite the genesis of Independence Day, it is largely uncommon for Americans to express anti-British sentiment on the day or to view it as a celebration of anti-colonialism. Indeed, most Americans today consider the United Kingdom their greatest ally. Rather, contemporary Americans generally perceive the holiday as a celebration of the U.S.A. itself, rather than specifically as an opportunity to commemorate the end of British rule in the 18th century.

posted by Rainier & Katrina at 10:06 AM | Permalink |