(Daily Alta California, 4 July 1855).
John Adams' famous letter of July 3, 1776, in which he wrote to his wife Abigail what his thoughts were about celebrating the Fourth of July is found on various web sites but is usually incorrectly quoted. Following is the exact text from his letter with his original spellings:
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
This database was begun in 1995 by James Heintze, Librarian at American University, Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to bring together in one source selected examples of Fourth of July celebrations that have occurred throughout our nation's history from 1776 to 2003. The goal is to capture a slice of the American cultural tradition--its pageantry, spectacle, music, and symbol in order to enhance our understanding of the American character and heritage.
The range of observances is broad and include unique, unusual, and little-known events. The selections represent both major cities and small rural towns throughout the United States, as well as some foreign countries, and are arranged by year and alphabetically by location. Entries include outlandish and unusual pyrotechnic displays, parades and processions, speeches, battle enactments, musical events, information on rabble-rousing, gun-toting crowds and protesters, balls, artillery salutes, mishaps and accidents, and expressions by ethnic groups. Currently the database includes hundreds of different celebrations, and its content is continually under development. Examples of what readers may expect to find include one of the last parades of War of 1812 veterans and the staged battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac in New York (1862), a grand explosion on top of Pike's Peak (1901), the reunion of Confederate soldiers in Chattanooga (1890), the mock atomic bomb explosion before a crowd of 25,000 in Baltimore (1951), and the Oklahoma City Fourth that included the raising of the American flag back to full-staff after the bombing of the Federal Building earlier that year (1995). Citations are taken from primary sources, such as newspapers, and other reliable resources.
The amount of information on the Fourth of July is enormous! Only a portion of the data collected thus far has been loaded onto this site. For geographical access to states represented in the collection, click on Geographical Index. You may also request by interlibrary loan at American University my book The Fourth of July in Sound, Spectacle and Symbol,call number: E286.A151 1999, which includes the full descriptions of the more than 200 celebrations represented in the Geographical Index.. Note also that I have included a selection of celebrations held in foreign countries. These appear towards the end of the Index. You may also contact Jim Heintze through e-mail at Jheintz@american.edu or by telephone at 202-885-3205 for further information and to ask questions.
Readers can also learn much more about the issues and documents that focus on the Revolutionary War era. For access to historic photographs, manuscripts, and documents of the Fourth of July contained in the collections of the National Digital Library, see American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library. The two most important books in print that deal specifically with the Fourth of July in a historical context are:
Its interesting to note as well that when July 4th fell on a Sunday, the anniversary was celebrated in most places on Monday, July 5:
List of years that July 4 fell on Sunday: 1779, 1784, 1790, 1802, 1813, 1819, 1824, 1830, 1841, 1847, 1852, 1858, 1869, 1875, 1880, 1886, 1897, 1909, 1915, 1920, 1926, 1937, 1943, 1948, 1954, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1982, 1993, 1999
However, some towns opted to celebrate Independence Day on Saturday, July 3, but that was not as common. In 1830, for example, Columbia, South Carolina, celebrated the Fourth on July 3 and in 1852, Marblehead, Massachusetts, also celebrated on July 3.
It was ex-Senator Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts who suggested that July 3 be substituted for July 5, when the Fourth fell on Sunday. In a letter he wrote in 1858 which was read on July 4 at a celebration in Boston, he stated his rationale:
You are aware that Washington, having arrived at Cambridge on the 2d, assumed command of the American Army for the first time on the 3d of July, 1775. Would it not be a most agreeable and worthy coincidence, if, when the intervention of a Sunday shall cut off the customary routine of these celebrations, we could combine the commemoration of those two great events: Washington taking command of the Army in 1775, and Congress declaring our Independence in 1776(New York Times, 9 July 1858, 4)
In 1999, July 4th fell on a Sunday and when certain towns opted to celebrate on July 3rd, protests were heard. In Meza, Arizona, where the Sertoma Club has staged an annual fireworks show for the last 35 years, they moved the event to Saturday causing hundreds of complaints. The Club "cited poor turnout and the reluctance of its Mormon members and volunteers to work when the holiday falls on a Sunday." In Fairfax, Va., the parade and fireworks occurred on Saturday because it would have been difficult to get volunteers to work on Sunday. In Rockledge Borough, Pa., town officials held the city parade on Saturday in respect for Sunday church services. Some residents were angry about that.
The first celebrations occurred shortly after the declaration in various locales along the Eastern Seaboard. Much of the tradition inherent in the way we celebrate today was evident almost from the beginning. Sound, spectacle, and sentiment played an important role in that tradition.
Yesterday the 4th of July, being the Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, was celebrated in this city with demonstration of joy and festivity. About noon all the armed ships and gallies in the river were drawn up before the city, dressed in the gayest manner, with the colours of the United States and streamers displayed. At one o'clock, the yards being properly manned, they began the celebration of the day by a discharge of thirteen cannon from each of the ships, and one from each of the thirteen gallies, in honour of the Thirteen United States. In the afternoon an elegant dinner was prepared for Congress, to which were invited the President and Supreme Executive Council, and Speaker of the Assembly of this State, the General Officers and Colonels of the army, and strangers of eminence, and the members of the several Continental Boards in town. The Hessian band of music taken in Trenton the 26th of December last, attended and heightened the festivity with some fine performances suited to the joyous occasion, while a corps of British deserters, taken into the service of the continent by the State of Georgia, being drawn up before the door, filled up the intervals with feux de joie. After dinner a number of toasts were drank, all breaking independence, and a generous love of liberty, and commemorating the memories of those brave and worthy patriots who gallantly exposed their lives, and fell gloriously in defence [sic] of freedom and the righteous cause of their country. Each toasts was followed by a discharge of artillery and small arms, and a suitable piece of music by the Hessian band. The glorious fourth of July was reiterated three times accompanied with triple discharges of cannon and small arms, and loud huzzas that resounded from street to street through the city. Towards evening several troops of horse, a corps of artillery, and a brigade of North Carolina forces, which was in town on its way to join the grand army, were drawn up in Second street and reviewed by Congress and the General Officers. The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated. Every thing was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal. Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age till time shall be no more. Amen, and amen (Virginia Gazette, 18 July 1777).
This section of the database contains numerous events which can be directly tied to a celebration. Please note that many historic events that had nothing to do with celebrations of the Fourth of July occurred coincidentally on that date. Those events are not included in the chronology. All of the information below is based on primary sources. Readers should feel free to use this information but credit must be given to this site and its author James R. Heintze. Contact email@example.com for additional information or questions you might have. For additional year-to-year events, click on the Chronology of Musical Events in the Index.
1776- The Pennsylvania Evening Post is the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence, on 6 July 1776; the Pennsylvania Gazette publishes the Declaration on 10 July and theMaryland Gazette publishes the Declaration on 11 July; the first two public readings of this historic document include one given by John Nixon on 8 July at Independence Square, Philadelphia, and another on the same day in Trenton; the first public reading in New York is given on 10 July; the first public readings in Boston and Portsmouth, N.H., take place on 18 July; three public readings take place on the same day (25 July) in Williamsburg; a public reading in Baltimore takes place on 29 July; in Annapolis on 17 August at a convening of the convention, "unanimous" support of the tenets of the Declaration are expressed
1777- At Portsmouth, N.H., Americans are invited by Captain Thompson to lunch on board a Continental frigate; in Philadelphia, windows of Quakers' homes are broken because Quakers refuse to close their businesses on holidays that celebrate American military victories; the first religious sermon about Independence Day is given by Rev. William Gordon in Boston before the General Court of Massachusetts
1778- From his headquarters in Brunswick, N.J., General George Washington directs his army to put "green boughs" in their hats, issues them a double allowance of rum, and orders a Fourth of July artillery salute; at Princeton, N.J., an artillery salute is fired from a cannon taken from Burgoyne's army; in Philadelphia, guns and "sky rockets" are fired, but candles are not used for illuminations due to their scarcity; at Passy, France, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin host a dinner for "the American Gentlemen and ladies, in and about Paris"; the first Independence Day oration is given by David Ramsay in Charleston, S.C. before "a Publick Assembly of the Inhabitants"; on Kaskaskia Island, Ill., George Rogers Clark rings a liberty bell as he and his Revolutionary troops occupy Kaskaskia (under British rule) without firing a shot; at Mill Prison, near Plymouth, England, Charles Herbert (of Newburyport, Mass.) and other captured American prisoners of war celebrate the Fourth of July by attaching home-made American flags to their hats which they wear the entire day
1779- The Fourth falls for the first time on a Sunday and celebrations take place on the following day, initiating that tradition; in Boston, continental ships fire a "grand salute" from their cannons; in Philadelphia, although 14 members of the Continental Congress object to having a celebration, an elegant dinner at the City Tavern, followed by a display of fireworks, is given.
1781- The first official state celebration as recognized under resolve of a legislature occurs in Massachusetts; at Newport, R.I., the militia hosts French officers at a celebration dinner
1782- At Saratoga, N.Y., the "officers of the Regement" of the Continental Army celebrate with toasts and a "volley of Musquets at the end of each"
1783- Alexander Martin of North Carolina is the first governor to issue a state order (18 June) for celebrating the Fourth and the Moravian community of Salem responds with a special service and Lovefeast; Boston is the first municipality to designate (by vote on 25 March) July 4 as the official day of celebration; the governor of South Carolina gives a dinner at the State House in Charleston and at the celebration there, 13 toasts are drank, the last one accompanied by artillery guns firing 13 times and the band playing a dirge lasting 13 minutes
1786- In Beaufort, N.C., the Court House burns down, the result of an errant artillery shell during a celebration there
1787- John Quincy Adams celebrates the Fourth in Boston where he hears an oration delivered at the old brick meeting house and watches no less than six independent military companies process
1788- Fourth celebrations first become political as factions fight over the adoption of the Federal Constitution; pro- and anti-Constitution factions clash at Albany, N.Y.; in Providence, R.I., an unsuccessful attempt is made by 1,000 citizens headed by William Weston judge of the Superior Court, on July 4, to prevent the celebration of the proposed ratification of the Constitution; in Philadelphia, a "Grand Federal Procession," the largest parade in the U.S. to date, occurs under the planning of Francis Hopkinson; in Marietta, Ohio, James M. Varnum delivers the first Independence Day oration west of the Alleghany Mountains, in what was then known as the Northwestern territory
1791- The only Fourth of July address ever made by George Washington occurs at Lancaster, Pa.
1792- In Washington, a cornerstone for the "Federal Bridge" is laid by the Commissioners of the Federal Buildings
1794- Forty Revolutionary War soldiers celebrate near Nicholasville, in Jessamine County, Kentucky, at the home of Colonel William Price
1795- A mock battle engagement with infantry, cavalry and artillery units occurs in Alexandria, Va.; in Boston, the cornerstone for the Massachusetts State House is laid by Paul Revere and Gov. Samuel Adams
1796- In Baltimore, the Republican Society meets at Mr. Evan's Tavern
1798- George Washington attends the celebration in Alexandria, Va., and dines with a large group of citizens and military officers of Fairfax County there; in Portsmouth, N.H., the keel of the 20-gun sloop of war Portsmouth is laid
1799- The "musical drama," The Fourth of July or, Temple of American Independence (music by Victor Pelissier?), is premiered in New York; George Washington celebrates in Alexandria, Va. by dining with a number of citizens at Kemps Tavern there.
1800- In New York, the first local advertisements for fireworks appear and at the Mount Vernon Garden there a display of "a model of Mount Vernon, 20 feet long by 24 feet high, illuminated by several hundred lamps" is presented; in Philadelphia, the U.S. Marine Band, directed by Col. William Ward Burrows, provides music for the Society of the Cincinnati celebration held at the City Tavern; in Hanover, N.H., Dartmouth College student Daniel Webster gives his first Fourth of July oration in the town's meeting house
1801- The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurs; in Marblehead, Mass., an oration is given by Joseph Story at the New Meeting House; in Boston, the frigates U.S.S. Constitution and U.S.S. Boston and the French corvette Berceau fire artillery salutes
1802- The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is formally opened
1803- An Italian band of musicians perform for President Jefferson at the Executive Mansion
1804- The first Fourth of July celebration west of the Mississippi occurs at Independence Creek and is celebrated by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
1805- Boston has its first fireworks display; in Charleston, S.C., the American Revolution Society and the Society of the Cincinnati meet at St. Philips Church
1806- Two Revolutionary officers march in a parade in Bennington, Vt.
1807- In Richmond, Skelton Jones delivers a funeral oration over the men of the U.S. Chesapeake who lost their lives due to an attack by the British warship Leopard, two weeks earlier; in Petersburg, Va., people march through the streets with an "effigy of George III on a pole" and later burn the effigy on Centre Hill; the eagle which crowns the gate of the Navy Yard in Washington City is unveiled to the sound of a federal salute and music.
1808- Citizens of Richmond, Va., resolve that only liquor produced in this country will be drunk on the Fourth of July
1810- An entertainment, "Columbia's Independence," is presented at the Washington Theatre in Washington City; in New Haven, Conn., the citizens there have a "plowing match"
1814- The Fourth is celebrated in Honolulu, Hawaii, with a dinner, and artillery salutes are fired from ships in the harbor there; Uri K. Hill sings an "Ode" written especially for the occasion in New York while Commodore Stephen Decatur, an honorary member of the State Society of the Cincinnati, dines with that association in Tontine Coffee House there; the Declaration of Independence is printed in the 4 July edition of the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser; in Ashburton, England, American prisoners there celebrate the Fourth of July and drink 18 toasts
1815- The cornerstone for Baltimore's Washington Monument is set; Richard Bland Lee reads the Declaration of Independence in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the Capitol; in New York, officers from the French frigate Hermione sit on reviewing stands in front of City Hall in order to review parading troops while a group of "patriotic tars" tries to "haul down the British colors" but they are dispersed by the police; in New York harbor, a "steam vessel of war" complete with cannons is tested successfully
1816- The Declaration of Independence is read by W.S. Radcliff in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the Capitol; John Binns of Philadelphia proposes publishing a separate edition of the Declaration of Independence at $13 a copy
1817- Near Rome, New York, a ground breaking ceremony occurs for the construction of the Erie Canal
1818- A banquet celebration takes place in Paris at the Restaurant Banclin with guests former Senator James Brown of Louisiana, the American Minister to Paris, and Gen. Lafayette in attendance; a separately published facsimile edition (price $5) of the Declaration of Independence, issued by printer Benjamin O. Tyler, occurs in Washington City immediately prior to the Fourth for use on that holiday; at Fell's Point in Baltimore, the steamboat United States is launched from the shipyard of Flannigan and Beachem
1819- An early and rare example of an Independence Day oration presented (to a group of women) by a woman ("Mrs. Mead") occurs on July 3 at Mossy Spring in Kentucky
1820- Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins attends ceremonies in New York and the Constellation is decorated with numerous national and foreign flags in New York harbor; Charles Carroll attends the celebration at Howard's Park in Baltimore with his copy of the Declaration of Independence in hand; the Georgetown Metropolitan issues an editorial criticizing President Monroe for closing the Executive Mansion on Independence Day
1821- President Monroe is ill and the Executive Mansion is closed to the public; John Quincy Adams reads an original copy of the Declaration of Independence at a ceremony held at the Capitol; in Philadelphia, 90-year-old Timothy Matlack, who "wrote the first commission" for General George Washington, reads the Declaration of Independence
1822- At Mount Vernon, Judge Bushrod Washington announces that he will no longer allow "Steam-boat parties" and "eating, drinking, and dancing parties" on the grounds there; in Saratoga County, New York, 5000 citizens and 52 soldiers of the Revolution assemble there to celebrate the Fourth on the field where Gen. Burgoyne surrendered (October 17, 1777); in Nashville, Tennessee, the state's governor, William Carroll, presents a sword to General Andrew Jackson and both give speeches
1823- An elaborate ceremony takes place at Mount Vernon with Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins in attendance
1824- A ballet performance titled the "Patriotic Volunteer" is performed at the new theater at Chatham Garden, in New York; in Poultney, Vermont, 200 men celebrate the day by repairing a road, after which the "ladies of the neighborhood" serve them a "plenteons repast"
1825- President John Q. Adams marches to the Capitol from the White House in a parade that includes a stage mounted on wheels, representing 24 states; in Boston, members of the military share breakfast at the Exchange Coffee House; in Brooklyn, New York, the cornerstone for the Apprentices' Library is laid and Lafayette is in attendance
1826- 50th anniversary ( referred to as the "Jubilee of Freedom" event) of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and two signers of the document, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, die; in Providence, R.I., four men who participated in the capture of the British armed schooner Gaspeduring the Revolutionary War ride in a parade; in New York, 4 gold medals are struck by the Common Council: 3 are sent to the surviving signers of the Declaration, and the 4th is given to the son of Robert Fulton, in honor of the "genius in the application of steam"; in Lynchburg, Va., among the "aged patriots of '76" at the celebration there are General John Smith and Captain George Blakenmore; in Newport, R.I., Major John Handy reads the Declaration of Independence, "on the identical spot which he did 50 years ago," and was accompanied by Isaac Barker of Middletown, "who was at his side in the same place fifty years before."; in Worcester, Mass., at the South Meeting House, Isaiah Thomas stands on the spot where he originally read the Declaration of Independence in 1776; the Frederick-Town Herald of Frederick, Md., decides to no longer publish dinner toasts which they believe are "generally dull, insipid affairs, about which few feel any interest"; in Salem, N.C., the Moravian Male Academy is dedicated; in Quincy, Mass., Miss Caroline Whitney gives an address on the occasion of the presentation of a flag to the Quincy Light Infantry; in Arlington, Va., Washington's tent, the same which the General used at the heights of Dorchester in 1775, is erected near the banks of the Potomac and is used for a celebration
1827- The State of New York emancipates its slaves; the play "The Indian Prophecy: A National Drama in Two Acts," by George Washington Parke Custis, has its Philadelphia premiere at the Chestnut Street Theater; the Ohio Canal opens in Cleveland with Governor Allen Trimble arriving there on the first boat, State of Ohio
1828- Charles Carroll, last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, participates in a Baltimore celebration and assists in the laying of the "first stone" of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; the frigate Constitution arrives at Boston returning from a cruise and fires "a salute in honor of the day"; the ground-breaking ceremony of the C & O Canal, north of Georgetown, takes place with President John Quincy Adams officiating
1829- In Augusta, Maine, the corner stone of the "New State House" is laid; the cornerstone of one of the Eastern locks of the C & O Canal (near Georgetown) scheduled to take place is cancelled due to rain; the embankments at the summit of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal are opened and water fills the canal, with large crowds and the Mayor of Philadelphia Benjamin W. Richards in attendance; in Cincinnati, an illuminated balloon, 15 feet in diameter, is sent aloft; in Washington, D.C., General Van Ness, on behalf of the Board of Aldermen and Common Council there, presents a written statement of confidence to President Andrew Jackson, who is experiencing some unpopularity in the city
1830- Columbia, S.C. celebrates the Fourth (occuring on the sabbath) on 3 July; Vice President John C. Calhoun is in Pendleton, S.C., at the Anniversary celebration there and proposes a toast ("consolidation and disunion" are "two extremes of our system") that stirs controversy
1831- Former President James Monroe dies on 4 July: "It is stated that when the noise of firing began at midnight, he opened his eyes inquiringly; and when the cause was communicated to him, a look of intelligence indicated that he understood what the occasion was," and President Jackson directs that at all military posts, "officers wear crape on their left arm for six months"; in Washington, two separate politically partisan ceremonies are held: the "National Republican Celebration," for the friends of Henry Clay, and "The Administration Celebration," for the friends for the re-election of President Jackson; in Washington, Francis Scott Key gives an oration in the Rotunda of the Capitol; in Washington, Jacob Gideon, Sr., "who had officiated during the Revolutionary War as trumpeter to the commander-in-chief, and had acted in that capacity at the surrender at York Town" sounds "a revolutionary blast" at a dinner of the Association of Mechanics and other Working Men; in Alexandria, Va., a ground breaking ceremony for the Alexandria branch of the C&O Canal occurs, with G.W.P. Custis and town mayor John Roberts providing the speeches; in Georgetown, a " beautiful new packet boat, called the George Washington," commences her first run on the C&O Canal; in Charleston, S.C., citizens march in a parade carrying banners "on which were inscribed the names of battles fought in the Revolution, and in the late War"; John Quincy Adams delivers a Fourth of July oration at Quincy, Mass.; the tribe of Pequoad indians celebrate the Fourth of July with a wardance at their wigwam, south of Alexandria, Va.
1832- New York has a subdued Fourth of July celebration due to a cholera epidemic occurring there; in Washington, Henry Clay attends the National Republican Celebration that's held on the bank of the Potomac River
1833- In Philadelphia, the cornerstone of the Girard College for Orphans is laid; the National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.) publishes the text of the Constitution
1834- A man who was at Lexington and Bunker Hill attends ceremonies in New Haven, Conn., wearing the original coat he had worn then; in New York, an "Anti-Slavery Society" meeting is held at the "Chatham street Chapel," and is attended by both blacks and whites; at the Hermitage Inn in Philadelphia, David Crockett gives a traditional Fourth of July address; in Washington, D.C., the first Trades Union celebration occurs
1835- In Boston, George Robert Twelves Hewes, shoemaker, is honored at a celebration as the last survivor of the Boston Tea Party; the National Intelligencer prints the text of "Washington's Farewell Address."
1837- Oberlin College students celebrate by holding anti-slavery meetings
1838- In providence, Rhode Island, 29 veterans of the revolution take part in the procession there; the White House is closed to the public, "the President has lately lost, by death, a near relative"; in Charlottesville, Va., the Declaration of Independence is read from an "original draft, in the handwriting of Mr. Jefferson"; at Fort Madison, Iowa, the well-known Native American Black Hawk gives a Fourth of July speech
1839- In Hagerstown, Md., the only 2 surviving soldiers of the Revolutionary War there ride in a carriage pulled by white horses; on Stanten Island in New York, between 20,000-30,000 children gather to celebrate the Sunday School Scholars National Jubilee there, while in the New York harbor, 1000 ships converge, "all gaily dressed in honor of the day"; in Boston, 1500 men gather at Faneuil Hall in support of a Temperance Reformation; in Norwich, Connecticut, at a sabbath school celebration there, one of the students reads excerpts from the Declaration of Independence wearing "the identical cap" worn by William Williams (of that state) at the time the latter signed the Declaration; the McMinnville Gazette (Tenn.) publishes a Declaration of Independence for an "Independant Treasury" and the text is reprinted in the D.C. Globe; at Norfolk, an elephant "attached to the menagerie" there swims across the harbor from Town Point to the Portsmouth side and back
1840- At Cherry Valley, N.Y., William H. Seward delivers a centennial anniversary oration on the anniversary of that town's settlement; in Congress, in the House of Representatives, Congressman Levi Lincoln of Massachusetts presents a proposal that the House decides on claims by Revolutionary soldiers for their relief; in Portsmouth, N.H., a large pavilion erected in the form of an amphitheatre collapses throwing nearly a thousand people to the ground, but no one is killed; in Providence, R.I., a "Clam Bake" is held and 220 bushes of clams are eaten
1841- In New York, the steamship Fulton is anchored off the Battery and displays fireworks and "glittering lamps" in honor of the day
1842- In New York harbor, the U.S. North Carolina, the frigate Columbia, and the English frigate Warspite exchange artillery salutes, and in the harbor as well, Sam Colt's "sub-marine experiment" for blowing up enemy ships is tested successfully; in Washington, D.C., the "History of the Declaration of Independence," by William Bacon Stevens is published in the National Intelligencer, (4 July 1842, 1-4) and the "Grand Total Abstinence Celebration," made up of several temperance societies, takes place there; at Parrott's Woods, near Georgetown (D.C.), the speaker's platform collapses, throwing D.C. Major William W. Seaton, G.W.P. Custis, and others to the ground, but no one is injured
1843- The beginning of the annual tradition of lighting the Spring Park with candles in the Moravian community of Lititz, Pa., begins; in Boston, Charles Francis Adams, son of President John Quincy Adams, gives an oration in Faneuil Hall, and is the first celebration in this building; in Washington, D.C., the laying of the cornerstone of the Temperance Hall takes place; in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a church burns to the ground as a result of a firecracker "carelessly thrown by a boy"
1844- In Charleston, S.C., the faculty and trustees of Charleston College march in a city-wide "Festival of the Teachers and Scholars" parade; "Liberty Pole Raisings" and flag raisings in support of the Whigs political party take place in Louisville, Ky., Wheeling and Harper's Ferry, W.V., and Montrose, Pa.
1845- In Washington, D.C., the cornerstone of Jackson Hall is laid, and on the grounds south of the Executive Mansion, twelve rockets are accidentally fired into the crowd, killing James Knowles and Georgiana Ferguson and injuring several others; in Ithaca, N.Y., three persons are killed by an exploding cannon; ex-president John Tyler gives a speech at William and Mary College; in Nashville, Tennessee, the corner-stone of the State House is laid
1848- In Washington, the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President of the United States, Dolley Madison, and other persons of distinction in attendance; Hon. Josiah Quincy presents a speech in Boston (he was the orator of the day there 50 years before on 4 July 1798)
1849- The first Fourth of July celebration ever in Sacramento, California, takes place
1850- The laying of a block of marble by the "Corporation" in the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia takes place; Newburgh, N.Y., dedicates "Old Hasbrouck House," where George Washington had his Revolutionary War headquarters, as a national monument
1851- In Washington, President Fillmore assists in the laying of the "cornerstone of the new Capitol edifice" while Daniel Webster gives his last Fourth of July oration there; in Trappe, Pa., a monument to the memory of Francis R. Shunk, late Governor of Pennsylvania, is unveiled and George W. Woodward presents an address there; Greenville, S.C., holds an anti- secession celebration with 4,000 persons in attendance
1852- In Rochester, N.Y., on 5 July, Frederick Douglass presents his famous speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"; Marblehead, Mass., celebrates the Fourth on July 3
1853- At a celebration dinner at Washington Hall in Springfield, Mass., Rev. Jonathan Smith, a chaplain in the Revolutionary Army, is cheered; in Abbington, Mass., a "Know Nothing Anti-Slavery celebration" takes place; in Norwalk, Conn., showman P.T. Barnum opens the ceremony there with an address before a crowd of 10,000; in Philadelphia, at the Chestnut Street Theatre, the comedietta, "My Uncle Sam," is performed, and the cornerstone of the West Philadelphia Institute is laid, while some 10,000 persons visit Independence Hall, especially opened to the public on this occasion, and each person attempts to sit in the chair of John Hancock; in New York, 95-year-old Daniel Spencer, "an old patriot of the Revolution, hailing from Canajoharie, N.Y.," participates in the celebration; Williamsburg, Va., fires off a national salute of 32 guns by Captain Taft's Company of Light Artillery; 500 residents of Baltimore go on an excursion to Annapolis, Md., and while there, some of them fight with a group of Annapolitans resulting in 2 persons killed, and several injured; in Providence, R.I., the original carriage used by George Washington when he was in Providence is used in a parade there
1854- Henry David Thoreau gives a "Slavery in Massachusetts" oration at Framingham Grove, near Boston; in Farmingham, Mass., 600 abolitionists meet and watch William Lloyd Garrison burn printings of the Constitution of the U.S. and Fugitive Slave Law, "amid applause and cries of shame"; the mayor of Wilmington, Delaware, is mobbed by a group of citizens after putting City Council member Joshua S. Valentine in jail for setting off firecrackers
1855- In Worcester, Mass., citizens demonstrate against the city officials there who refuse to fund the town's Fourth of July celebration; in Columbus, Ohio, a parade of firemen, Turners and other societies, turns into a riot, resulting in one dead and several injured
1856- The "inauguration" of an equestrian statue (29 feet high) made by Henry K. Brown of George Washington is dedicated in New York
1857- In Milwaukee, the Declaration of Independence is read publicly in German by Edward Saloman; in Boston at the Navy Yard, the frigate Vermont is set on fire when "a wad" from an artillery salute "was blown on board of the hull"; near Lexington, Kentucky, a corner stone of a national monument to the memory of Henry Clay is laid
1858- Illinois Central Railroad workers attempt to launch a "monster balloon" called the "Spirit of '76" in Chicago; in Brooklyn, N.Y., the corner-stone of the Armory is laid; Oliver Wendell Holmes gives a speech in Boston; at Niagara Falls, N.Y., at the celebration of the opening of the hydraulic canal, the dam gives way, but no one is injured; Jefferson Davis gives a 4th of July speech on board a steamer bound from Baltimore to Boston and declares "this great country will continue united"
1859- In Grahamville, S.C., Robert Barnwell Rhett gives a speech proposing the creation of a Southern nation; in Washington, a convicted murderer publicly reads the Declaration of Independence at the prison there
1860- The Alexandria Gazette publishes a chronology of that Virginia town's notable 4th of July events from 1800-1860; in Jamestown, N.Y., the Museum Society, made up of children between the ages of ten and fifteen, take charge of the celebration there, because most of the adults are not in town, but in Randolph, N.Y., celebrating
1861- President Lincoln sends an address to both houses of Congress regarding the suspension of Federal government functions by secessionists in the South; Galusha A. Grow is the only Speaker of the House of Representatives ever to be elected and take office on the 4th of July; an artillery salute of 15 guns is fired at Camp Jackson near Pigs Point, Va., in honor of the Southern States that have declared and are declaring their independence; in Baltimore, the citizens there present a "splendid silk national flag, regimental size," to the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment; in Washington, D.C., 29 New York regiments are reviewed by the President at the White House; in Charleston, blockading Federal ships fire a salute at sunrise, which is answered by Confederate artillery salutes from Forts Moultrie and Sumter; Gov. John A. Andrew of Massachusetts celebrates the 4th with the 1st Massachusetts Regiment at Camp Banks near Georgetown, D.C.
1862- A pyrotechnic depiction of the battle between the Monitor and Merrimac takes place in New York
1863- In Concord, N.H., former president Franklin Pierce addresses 25,000 persons at the "Democratic Mass Meeting" held there; in Buffalo, N.Y., 17 veterans of the War of 1812 march in a parade there; at Annapolis, a "flag of truce" boat filled with Secessionist women from Philadelphia and elsewhere leaves on July 3rd and travels south; in Gettysburg, Pa., as the Rebel troops are making their escape from the great battle just fought there, someone throws firecrackers among their ambulances carrying the wounded and causes a stampede of the horses and panic among the troops; in Columbus, Ohio, Randal and Aston's store has 8,500 American flags to sell for the holiday; in Newport, Rhode Island, the Fourth of July celebration is repeated on Tuesday, July 7, due to the news regarding the Union victory at Vicksburg; Gov. Zebulon B. Vance of North Carolina gives a speech in Granville county, urging "the people to continue their assistance in prosecuting the war until the independence of the Confederate States was established"
1864- Gov. Andrew Johnson of Tennessee addresses the citizens of Nashville; in Washington, D.C., Secretary William Seward, riding in a carriage, narrowly avoids serious injury when a rocket, set off by a young boy, strikes him above his eye
1865- One of the first "Freedmen" celebrations occurs, in Raleigh, N.C.; Lincoln's "Emanicipation Proclamation" is read again in Warren, Ohio; the National Monument Association lays the cornerstone of the Soldier's Monument in Gettysburg; in Boston, a statue of Horace Mann is "inaugurated"; the Huntsville Advocate (Alabama) prints news about celebrations in Gettysburg and New York; the celebration by the Colored People's Educational Monument Association in memory of Abraham Lincoln occurs in Washington, D.C. and is the first national celebration by African-Americans in the U.S.; in Albany, N.Y., 100 "tattered" Civil War battle flags are presented to the state and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant is in attendance; in Savannah, Ga., Governor James Johnson addresses the citizens there telling them that slavery is dead and that they should renew their allegiance to the Government; at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., J.C. Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, reads the Emancipation Proclamation; Union General William Tecumseh Sherman participates in a 4th of July civic celebration in Louisville, Ky., and witnesses a balloon ascension there; in Hopewell, New Jersey, a monument to the memory of John Hart, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is dedicated and New Jersey Governor Joel Parker delivers an oration
1866- General George G. Meade watches 10,000 war veterans parade in Philadelphia; General William T. Sherman gives an address in Salem, Ill.; the Nashville Banner, in an editorial, urges its citizens not to celebrate the Fourth; one of the worst fires ever to occur on Independence Day takes place in Portland, Maine, the blame placed on an errant firecracker
1867- The cornerstone of the new Tammany Hall is laid in New York while the cornerstone for a monument to George Washington is laid at Washington's Rock, N.J.; the "Emanicipation Proclamation" is read in Portland, Maine; the Illinois State Association celebrates on the grounds of the Civil War battle field at Bull Run in Virginia; in Washington, two members of the House of Representatives are arrested for violating a city ordinance prohibiting the setting off of firecrackers in the public streets; Friends of Universal Suffrage meet in South Salem, Mass., and Susan B. Anthony reads the Declaration of the Mothers of 1848; a freight train carrying a "large quantity of fireworks" on route to a celebration in Springfield, Mass. derails near Charleston and the train is completely wrecked
1868- President Andrew Johnson issues his Third Amnesty Proclamation in Washington, D.C. directed to those who participated in the Civil War; the Declaration of Independence is read in both English and Spanish at a public celebration in Santa Fe, New Mexico; in Richmond, some black "societies" parade, "but there is no public celebration by the whites"; in Groton, Mass., the Lawrence Academy, is destroyed by fire due to a firecracker "thrown on the piazza by a boy"; in Buffalo, St. John's Episcopal Church burns to the ground due to a rocket that exploded in its spire
1869- A monument dedicated to George Washington is unveiled in Philadelphia; in New York, 350 Cuban "patriot" residents parade "to evoke sympathy for the Cuban revolutionary cause" and the Army of the Potomac Society meets to establish itself as a permanent organization; blacks celebrate the Fourth on July 3rd in Columbia, S.C.; the Declaration of Independence is read in English and German at a public celebration at Diamond Square in Pittsburgh
1870- President Ulysses S. Grant participates in Fourth of July opening exercises in Woodstock, Conn.; in Newark, N.J., 13 young ladies dressed to represent the 13 original states, proceed in a carriage; in Marysville, Pa., at a picnic held by black military companies, a riot ensues with several persons shot
1871- The New Saenger Hall is dedicated in Toledo, Ohio; in Vienna, American Minister Hon. John Jay gives a Fourth dinner hosting the ambassadors of the Vienna Court; the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence on the grounds of Mount Vernon takes place, the reader is John Carroll Brent, a member of D.C.'s Oldest Inhabitants Association; at Framingham Grove, Mass., the Massachusetts Woman's Suffrage Association holds a mass meeting and activist Lucy Stone and others give speeches there
1872- A monument representing an infantry soldier of the Civil War is unveiled in White Plains, N.Y.; Richmond, Va., publicly celebrates the Fourth, the first time in 12 years; Ella Wheeler (Wilcox), a poet, is presented a badge of the Army of Tennessee Society at its meeting in Madison, Wisconsin; in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Vice President Schuyler Colfax gives an oration
1873- In Philadelphia, the transfer of Fairmount Park for use by the Centennial Commission in preparation for the International Exhibition and Centennial Celebration in 1876 takes place; in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mme. Anna Bishop Troupe performs in the Tabernacle before a crowd of 6,000, including Brigham Young and "U.S. officials"; in Buffalo, N.Y., a "large delegation" of native Americans and Canadians attend a ceremony there; Mark Twain gives a Fourth of July address in London
1874- In Saybrook, Conn., the Thomas C. Acton Library is dedicated; the New York Times publishes an editorial acknowledging the increased interest in the South for celebrating the Fourth and encourages Southern towns to do just that; in Lancaster, Pa., the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at Penn Square is dedicated
1875- In Augusta, Georgia, the white military celebrates the Fourth, the first time in that town since the Civil War; several blacks and possibly one white are killed when a fray erupts at a Fourth of July celebration held at the Court House in Vicksburg, Miss.; on the Centennial Grounds in Philadelphia, the Order of B'nai B'rith hold "exercises" incident to the breaking of the ground for their proposed statue to religious liberty; at Atoka, "Indian Territory," a celebration of the Fourth by Native Americans takes place with 3,000 persons participating; Homer, Louisiana, celebrates the holiday on Saturday, July 3
1876- Centennial celebrations (many are three-day celebrations, 3-5 July) occur throughout the United States and abroad; in Philadelphia at Fairmount Park, two separate celebrations include the German societies unveiling a statue of Baron Alexander von Humboldt and the dedication, including an address provided by John Lee Carroll, Governor of Maryland, of the Catholic Temperance Fountain; also in Philadelphia, Bayard Taylor's "National Ode, July 4, 1876," is read at Independence Square while Susan B. Anthony and others belonging to the National Woman's Suffrage Association present and read their Declaration of Rights for Women at the Centennial Celebration; in Philadelphia as well, General Sherman reviews the troops as they parade; in Washington, D.C., at the First Congregational Church, the poem "Centennial Bells," by Bayard Taylor is read by the poet; the long-standing tradition of Navy vessels participating in July 4th celebrations in Bristol, R.I., begins with the presence there of the U.S. sloop Juniata; in Washington, 11 couples celebrate the Fourth by getting married, Congress appoints a committee of 13 to attend the celebration of the Oldest Inhabitants Association there, and 300 artillery blasts are fired, 100 at sunrise, 100 at noon, 100 at sunset; in Richmond, Va., the U.S. and Virginia flags are raised on the Capitol for the first time on the Fourth in 16 years and the Richmond Grays (an African-American regiment) are in Washington celebrating; in New York, on the eve of the Fourth, an Irish couple name their newborn child American Centenniel Maloney, in honor of the day; in New Orleans, Louisiana, the monitor Canonicus fires a salute from the Mississippi River; in Hamburg, South Carolina, an incident that results in a massacre of African-Americans occurs; in Montgomery, Alabama, the Declaration of Independence is read by Neil Blue, the oldest citizen of Montgomery, and the only survivor of those who voted for delegates to the territorial convention which adopted the Constitution under which Alabama was admitted into the union in 1819; in Joliet, in Quincy, Illinois, the cornerstone of the new Court House is laid; in San Francisco, a mock engagement with the iron-clad Monitor occurs and there is a parade there that is over 4 miles long, with 10,000 participants; in Chicago, at the Turners and Socialists celebration, a revised Declaration of Independence from the socialist's standpoint is distributed; in Freeport, Illinois and Chicago, the Declaration of Independence is read in both English and German; in Evanston, Illinois, a centennial poem "The Girls of the Period" is publicly read by Mrs. Emily H. Miller; in Wilmette, Illinois, a woman (Miss Aunie Gedney) reads the Declaration of Independence; in Savannah, Georgia, a centennial tree is planted, accompanied by appropriate speeches; in Utica, New York, 30 veterans of the War of 1812 join in a parade along with two of Napoleon's soldiers
1877- In Woodstock, Conn., Roseland Park is dedicated and Oliver Wendell Homes reads his poem, "The ship of state, above her skies are blue"; in New York, at a ceremony held at the Sturtevant House, 89-year old Daniel Lopez, who fought on board the frigate Constitution, dances a jig
1879- Frederick Douglass addresses the citizens of Frederick, Md.; at Sunbury, Pa., Gov. Hoyt unveils a statue of Col. Cameron; in Charleston, S.C., the Lafayette Artillery, "a white militia company," fires an artillery salute, the first since 1860; in Montgomery, Ala., a letter from Jefferson Davis is read at the public celebration there; at Lake Walden, Mass., a "grand temperance" celebration is held, with Henry Ward Beecher, speaker
1880- Gen. James A. Garfield, is guest speaker at the dedication of the Soldiers' Monument in Painesville, Ohio; in Boston, a statue of Revolutionary War patriot Samuel Adams is unveiled; in San Francisco the first daytime fireworks ever exhibited in the country takes place at Woodward's Gardens
1881- In Washington, D.C., the Chief of Police issues an order banning all fireworks in respect to the shooting of President Garfield while, at the same time, prayer meetings for the President's recovery are held in lieu of Fourth celebrations throughout the country
1882- Buffalo, N.Y., celebrates its 50th anniversary as the laying of a cornerstone for a soldiers' monument takes place there; the chapel of Dutch Neck Church in Princeton Junction, N.J. is dedicated
1883- The Declaration of Independence is read in Swedish at a celebration at Bergquist Park in Moorhead, Minn.; seven hundred Yankton and Sautee Sioux participate in a Fourth celebration in Yankton, S.D.; a monument to George Cleaves and Richard Tucker, "the first settlers of Portland," is unveiled in Portland, Maine; in Woodstock, Conn., John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, "Our Country," is read at the public celebration there; Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens at North Platte, Neb.; former President Rutherford B. Hayes is in Woodstock, Conn., attending the ceremony and giving a speech; in Plainfield, N.J., a Revolutionary cannon (dating to 1780), known as the "one-horn cannon," is fired
1884- The formal presentation of the Statue of Liberty takes place in the Gauthier workshop in Paris; General George B. McClellan is honored at a celebration in Woodstock, Conn.; Samuel Bayard Stafford attends the Veterans of the War of 1812 as a visitor and carries the old flag of the Bon Homme Richard and the boarding cutlace of Paul Jones and Bloodgood H. Cutter; Cambridge, Md., celebrates its 200th anniversary of its founding; in Swan City, Colorado, miners blow up the town's Post Office because they are not supplied with fireworks
1885- Gen. Abraham Dally, 89-year old veteran of the War of 1812 raises the flag at the Battery in New York while the French man-of-war La Flore, decorated with flags and bunting, holds a public reception on board in New York harbor; in Jamestown, N.Y., a mock Civil War battle is fought; municipal officials in Salt Lake City and heads of the Mormon Church there order all American flags flown at half-mast in the city to emphasize their religious freedoms, and Californians are angered by the act
1886- Portland, Maine, celebrates its 100th anniversary of the town's incorporation
1887- First Fourth of July celebration in Yellowstone National Park takes place; the New York Times issues a call for a new Declaration of Independence for commercial freedom in the world markets; in Providence, R.I., a statue of Union Army General Ambrose Burnside is unveiled
1888- A commemoration of Francis Scott Key and dedication of the first monument of him in the West is unveiled in San Francisco; in Amesbury, Mass., a statue of Josiah Bartlett, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence, is unveiled
1889- President Harrison gives a speech in Woodstock, Conn. and is the third President to be in Woodstock on July 4th
1890- In Chattanooga, Tenn., 2,000 Confederate veterans march in a parade, without Confederate flags, while four generals (Gen. George B. Gordon, La.; Gen. W.S. Cabell, Tex.; Gen. E. Kirby Smith, Tenn.; Gen. "Tige" Anderson, Georgia) give speeches there; in Portland, Maine, General Sherman and other generals attend the Army of the Potomac celebration there
1891- A Tioga County, N.Y., soldier's monument is unveiled in Owego, N.Y. and a speech by Gen. Benjamin F. Tracy, Secretary of the Navy, is given there; in Plainfield, N.J., a cannon used in the War of 1812 is fired; in Newark, N.J., at Caledonian Park, 5,000 German Saengerbunders, accompanied by an orchestra of 200 pieces, sing the "Star-Spangled Banner"; on this day, Cheraw, S.C., is the first town in that state to celebrate the Fourth in over 30 years; the Seventy-Second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers from Philadelphia dedicates a bronze monument in Gettysburg; in Buffalo, N.Y., the Society of Veterans parade in honor of the Army of the Potomac; the cornerstone of the new schoolhouse of St. Paul's Parish in New York is laid
1892- In New York, the City Hall and Federal Building inadvertently fly American flags of 42 stars and 35 stars, respectively, not the new flags of 44 stars representing the full number of states; in New York, ground is broken for the statue of Columbus, a gift from Italy to the city; in New York harbor, the Brazilian cruiser Almirante Barroso is gayly decorated with a 40-foot American flag; Quincy, Mass. celebrates its 100th anniversary
1893- The World's Fair continues in Chicago as a new liberty bell is rung there; Auburn, N.Y., celebrates its Centennial anniversary of its settlement in tandem with the Fourth; Julia Ward Howe reads poetry at a Woodstock, Conn. celebration; in Cape May, N.J., ex- President Harrison gives a patriotic speech on the rights and duties of citizenship; in the Battery in New York, a gunner is put under arrest for inaccurate counting of a 21-gun national salute in which 23 rounds were fired; a bronze statue made by Thomas Ball of P.T. Barnum is unveiled in Bridgeport, Conn.
1894- In Huntington, N.Y., a memorial to Captain Nathan Hale is unveiled; in Highlands, N.J., a white-bordered flag denoting universal liberty and peace waves for the first time; Vice President Stevenson gives a speech on the historic battlefield of Guilford Court House in Greensboro, N.C.; in Cleveland, the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument takes place and Gov. William McKinley gives a speech at the ceremony; at the state fair of Illinois, the corner stone of the exposition building is laid; in Montevideo, Minnesota, the Camp Release Monument, commemorating the Dakota Conflict of 1862, is dedicated
1895- At Chautauqua, N.Y., women are dressed in yellow as the first "woman's day" is celebrated in tandem with Independence Day; Katharine Lee Bates' poem "America" is first published on this day in the Boston Congregationalist, a weekly church publication
1896- In Brooklyn, N.Y., a bronze statue of Maj. Gen. Gouverneur Kemble Warren, commander of the Fifth Corps of the Army of the Potomac, is unveiled
1897- The New York Times prints a facsimile edition of the Declaration of Independence in its issue of 4 July 1897; American newspaper correspondents are barred from attending a Fourth celebration at the U.S. Consulate in Havana, Cuba; in Avondale, Ohio, Thomas C. McGrath unveils a statue of Thomas Jefferson "on the lawn in front of his beautiful residence on Rockdale and Wilson Avenues"; the U.S. flag flies over the White House on July 5, despite the President's absence (for years the flag which flies over the White House had been hauled down each time the President left the White House)
1898- At Washington Grove, Md., a few miles outside of Washington, D.C., Mrs. J. Ellen Foster is the orator of the day and gives a traditional Fourth of July address; in Auburn, Calif., the Placer County Courthouse is dedicated; in Waynesburg, Pa., the cornerstone for the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument for Civil War veterans of Greene County is laid
1899- "Horseless-carriages" take part in a Fourth celebration in Dyersville, Iowa; in Helena, Montana, the cornerstone of the new State Capitol is laid; Gov. Theodore Roosevelt gives speech at his home town, Oyster Bay, N.Y., as other speakers predict he will be the next President; in Plymouth, England, all the British warships there are decorated with flags and a 21-gun salute is fired; in London, Mark Twain addresses the American Society at their dinner there
1900- Hoboken, N.J., does not celebrate the Fourth in respect for the loss of life in a massive fire a few days previous; President McKinley reviews parade in Canton, Ohio; a memorial to Thomas Jefferson is presented to the people of Kentucky in Louisville by the brothers Isaac W. and Bernard Bernheim and is dedicated on this day; a statue in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette, a gift of American school children to France, is presented by Ferdinand W. Peck, President of the Lafayette Memorial Commission, to President Emile Loubet, in Paris; in Whitehouse, Ohio, a Whitehouse Park Statue, for those who fought in the Civil War, is dedicated
1901- Spanish-American war veterans march in a Nome, Alaska parade; a fiery explosion is set off at the summit of Pike's Peak in Colorado; Chinese minister Wu Ting-Fang gives Independence Day speech at Independence Square in Philadelphia and predicts "this Republic will become the greatest power upon the earth"; in Jackson, Mississippi, the Declaration of Independence is read, the first time in 40 years; in Courtland, Kansas, the cornerstone of a proposed monument to mark the spot where the American flag was first raised (by Zebulon M. Pike in 1806) over the territory of Kansas is laid; in Santa Cruz, Calif., Minnie Cope, a woman, reads the Declaration of Independence
1902- 200,000 persons see President Roosevelt give speech in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh
1903- President Roosevelt gives speech in Huntington, N.Y., as the town celebrates its 250th anniversary and sends the first message over the Pacific Cable to Governor Taft at Manila, Philippines; in Lindale, Georgia, the Atlanta 5th Regiment engages in a sham military battle
1904- George W. Vanderbilt forbids sale of fireworks and "any kind of demonstration" in Biltmore, N.C.
1905- Vice President Fairbanks gives a speech at the Centennial Celebration of Champaign County in Urbana, Mich.; a 13 x 7-foot pen-and-ink copy of the Declaration of Independence, created by William V. Peacon, is presented to the Tammany Society in New York; in Helena, Montana, an equestrian bronze statue of Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, leader of the Irish Brigade in the Civil War and later secretary and acting governor of Montana is unveiled on the Capitol grounds
1906- Believing that Oklahoma is now a state, many towns in the U.S. fire 46-gun salutes
1907- Mark Twain gives Fourth of July address at a meeting of the American Society in London; in New York, 10,000 Italians celebrate the new Giuseppe Garibaldi Memorial, in honor of the Italian patriot's birthday
1908- In New York, Robert E. Peary's ship, Roosevelt,is "dressed up" with flags, including the "farthest north flag," with holes in it, due to "some part of the flag at some charted spot in the Polar regions," in honor of the Fourth; Saratoga, N.Y., enforces that city's first ban on the sale and use of fireworks; in Bloomington, Indiana, the Monroe County Courthouse is dedicated
1909- In Copenhagen, the Fourth is celebrated as part of Denmark's National Exposition, with guests Crown Prince and Princess in attendance; Norwich, Conn., celebrates its 250th anniversary of its settlement and 150th anniversary of its incorporation; Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Cleveland have their first "Safe and Sane" (that is, celebration free of injuries due to fireworks and other explosives) celebrations
1910- A bronze statue of George Washington is unveiled at Independence Hall in Philadelphia; St. Louis, and Albany, N.Y., have their first "sane Fourth" celebrations
1911- Santa Fe , N.M., celebrates with a historic pageant commemorating the reconquest of Santa Fe by Don Diego de Vargas in 1693; a Parade of Nations takes place at City Hall in Philadelphia and Arthur Farwell's Hymn to Liberty is performed by the United German Singers as part of that celebration; President Taft reviews "a sane Fourth of July parade" in Indianapolis; Charles W. Eliot, President Emeritus of Harvard, calls for a new Declaration of Independence "as a means of resisting the oppressive effects of industrial government," at Faneuil Hall in Boston
1912- The new national flag with 48 stars is "formally and officially endowed"
1913- In Tucson, Ariz., "the flag flying above the Mexican Consulate" is "torn down and trampled on" while at Moose Jaw, Saskatchawan, American flags are also trampled on; a forest fire is "started by fireworks" and "rages on" on French Mountain near Lake George, N.Y.; Princeton, N.J., celebrates its centennial anniversary of the town's incorporation; New Salem, N.D., and its German community there celebrates it first Fourth of July event in 5 years
1914- At Put-in-Bay, Ohio, a large crowd witnesses the laying of the cornerstone of the Oliver Hazard Perry victory monument; veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg meet in that town; President Wilson gives an address on the meaning of the Declaration of Independence and utters the famous words, "Our country, right or wrong" (attributed to Commodore Stephen Decatur) at Independence Hall in Philadelphia; 5,000 persons gather at Grant's Tomb at Riverside Park in New York while a Franco-American ceremony takes place at Lafayette's Tomb at Picpus Cemetary, Paris
1915- "Americanization Day" is celebrated in Kansas City, Mo., while 220 new citizens sing "America" and other patriotic songs; in New York, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, Margaret Wycherly reads an address, "Appeal for Liberty," at a gathering of 5 women suffrage organizations there; in San Francisco, William Jennings Bryan gives a speech on "Universal Peace"; in Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell leaves Independence Hall for a 6-month tour, winding up at the Panama-Pacific Exposition; in Paris, for the first time in the history of the American Chamber of Commerce celebration there, 9 members of the French Cabinet attend the Independence Day banquet.
1916- In Washington, D.C., President Wilson gives a speech at the dedication of the new American Federation of Labor building; the opening of the Cape May, N.J., harbor as a naval base is celebrated there; the centennial celebration of Peekskill, N.Y., is celebrated and includes a speech by ex-Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan
1917- Citizens of Paris celebrate the Fourth as General Pershing receives American flags from French President Poincare
1918- In New York, a "pageant parade" with 40 nationalities represented takes place; a "parade of nations" with nearly 100,000 foreign-born persons takes place in Philadelphia; President Wilson gives speech at an "international Fourth of July celebration" at Mount Vernon; in Washington, D.C., foreign-born citizens with nearly 5,000 performers in costume present a pageant, "Democracy Triumphant," in front of President Wilson and government officials at the Capitol; nearly 100 American military ships are launched at U.S. ports "to help build the ocean bridge for the allied fighting forces in Europe"; the London Daily Telegraph cables Fourth of July greetings to 20 leading American daily newspapers, as well as President Wilson, "as an indication of the good-will . . . all England feels towards America"; the New York Times publishes a full-page facsimile of the Declaration of Independence; the first official Toronto, Canada, Fourth celebration ever takes place as the American flag flies overCity Hall there; the city of Florence, Italy, confers the honor of "the freedom of the city on President Wilson"; in Indianapolis, an Americanization Day parade, featuring primarily immigrants, takes place
1919- One of the peaks in the Black Hills, near Deadwood, S.D., is renamed Mt. Theodore Roosevelt in honor of the former President; Panama celebrates its first official Fourth of July
1920- At the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., General John J. Pershing receives an engraved sword from the City of London in commemoration of his military achievements in Europe
1921- A large anti-prohibition parade takes place in New York while British music and jazz are forbidden as 50 bands march in an American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic parade there; in Des Moines, Iowa, the National Educational Association meets in the City Auditorium there and participants hear Governor of Iowa Nathan E. Kendall present a speech; in San Francisco at the Civic Auditorium, 4000 persons listen to a reading of Washington's Farewell Address
1922- In Atlanta, messages from President Harding and Gov. Davis of Ohio are read as a bronze memorial tablet to President McKinley is unveiled near the Peace Monument in Piedmont Park; in Gettysburg, an enactment of Pickett's charge takes place by the Fourth Brigade of the U.S. Marines using modern armaments; in Lenox, Mass., the town presents a historic pageant that depicts life 150 years ago; in Constantinople, a tablet honoring David Porter, the first American Minister to Turkey (from 1831 to 1843) is unveiled; in Washington, D.C., the German flag is hoisted above the German Embassy, the first time since February 1917 when U.S. German relations were severed; in Exeter, N.H., the Park & War Memorial is dedicated
1923- President Harding addresses citizens of Portland, Ore. and is initiated into the Cayuse Tribe at the Oregon Trail Celebration there
1924- President Coolidge addresses the national convention of the NEA in Washington, D.C.; the Bureau for American Ideals presents an outdoor pageant, Our Own United States, led by Irish baritone Thomas Hannon, at Columbus Circle, in New York; in Paris at a luncheon at the "American Village," Gen. Pershing is a guest of the American Olympic team; in Geneva. Switzerland, a tablet erected to the memory of President Woodrow Wilson is unveiled on Quay Wilson; the Alumni Lodge, which had been the original Seminary stable made of bricks from the Maryland 1676 State House, is dedicated at St. Mary's College, in St. Mary's City, Maryland
1925- As part of national Defense Day exercises, 50 U.S. military planes fly over New York City as the Declaration of Independence is read from one of the planes, transmitted by radio and broadcasted over radio station WOR; Chili declares this year's July 4 as a national holiday as a tribute to the U.S.; the Women's Peace Union presents their "Declaration of Independence from War" speech at Battery Park, in New York
1926- The 150th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence takes place (4-5 July) throughout the nation; President Coolidge plants a willow tree (the same kind of tree near the grave of George Washington at Mount Vernon) on the South Jersey exposition grounds in connection with the opening of the Delaware River bridge), on 5 July, and gives speech in Philadelphia at the Sesquicentennial Exposition there; in Charlottesville, Va., at the grave site of Thomas Jefferson, Rt. Rev. William T. Manning, Episcopal Bishop of New York, gives address on the occasion of Jefferson's death 100 years previous; in Budapest, Hungary, as church bells toll, Count Albert Apponyi gives a Fourth of July gratitude speech; in Philadelphia at Christ Church on 5 July, President Coolidge reads the names of 7 signers of the Declaration of Independence on a bronze replica of a tablet that is unveiled there by 6 young women descendants of the signers and the National Amateur Press Association has its 50th anniversary, the first meeting having taken place on July 4, 1876; at Natural Bridge, Va., on 5 July, a bronze and granite marker commemorating the granting of Natural Bridge by George III to Thomas Jefferson on 5 July 1774 is unveiled; Monticello is formally dedicated on 5 July as the home is "given to the nation"; the text of the only known letter written on the Fourth of July by a signer (Caesar Augustus Rodney of Delaware) of the Declaration of Independence is printed in the New York Times; near Chatham, N.J., on the banks of the Passaic River, on 5 July, a grandstand collapses throwing people off, as a pageant depicting colonial life and the birth of a new nation is being presented; in Washington, D.C., Rep. Harry R. Rathbone of Illinois gives a celebration speech on 5 July in which he calls for home rule for the District of Columbia; in the Bronx, N.Y., on 5 July, Congressman Anthony J. Griffin gives a speech as part of a Sesquicentennial service held at the historic St. Ann's Episcopal Church of Morrisania, known also as the Church of the Patriots; in London, American Ambassador to England Alanson B. Houghton presents a bronze statuette of a bison on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America to the Prince of Wales who receives the statuette on behalf of the Boy Scouts of Great Britain; in Prague, Czech., near the American Legation, the American flag is raised in the Sokol Stadium; London's Morning Post, "the only great English newspaper of the present time that was in existence in 1776," prints a miniature reproduction of the page in which the full text of the Declaration of Independence was printed in its 17 August 1776 issue; at Valley Forge, Pa., the "Star-Spangled Banner" peace chime and the National Birthday Bell are dedicated
1927- Comander Richard E. Byrd and other fliers are honored in Paris upon completion of their transatlantic flight; 20,000 native and naturalized citizens eligible to vote attend a reception at City Hall in New York as guests of the Mayor's Committee on Independence Day Reception to First Voters; at Sea Gate in New York, Lindbergh Park is dedicated in honor of the first New York to Paris flight by Charles A. Lindbergh; in Indianapolis, the cornerstone of the central shrine of the WWI memorial is laid, with Gen. John J. Pershing assisting; in Washington, D.C., the first official fourth of July ceremony at the Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds takes place; in Petersham, Mass., a tablet to mark the capture in that town of the insurgents under Daniel Shays on February 4, 1787, is dedicated
1928- In New York, the last celebration of the Tammany Society in its Fourteenth Street Hall (the historic Wigwam built in 1867 is sold) is held and Governor Alfred E. Smith addresses its members; Edith Nourse Rogers, Republican Representative from the Fifth Mass. District, is the orator for the Boston ceremony held in Faneuil Hall; in Hinsdale, Ill., the Memorial Building is dedicated to those who served in the country's wars
1929- The first Fourth celebration headed by an American General Consulate (Paul Knabenshue) takes place in Jerusalem; Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park near Hillsboro, West Virginia, is dedicated
1930- Gutzon Borgium's 60-foot face of George Washington carved on Mount Rushmore's granite cliff in South Dakota is unveiled; John H. Finley, associate editor of the New York Times, presents a speech on interdependence among nations at a convention of the National Education Association in Columbus, Ohio; in New Brunswick, N.J., the birthplace of poet Joyce Kilmer is dedicated as a national shrine to his memory; documents illustrating the development of the Declaration of Independence are put on display at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
1931- James Grafton Rogers, Assistant Secretary of State, gives a "debt moratorium" speech at the Sylvan Theater, on the Monument grounds in Washington, D.C.; Independence Hall Bell in Philadelphia tolls 155 times, each representing a year of American independence; the "Amizade" or friendship monument, presented by the people of the United States to Brazil, is dedicated in Rio de Janeiro; in Greensboro, N.C., the sesquicentennial of the battle of Guilford Court House is observed; at Stratford Hall, Stratford, Va., two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, are honored by the Society of Colonial Dames of Virginia and the Lee Foundation; the 25th anniversary of the unveiling of the Washington monument in Budapest, Hungary, occurs; reknown Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski gives a memorial statue, designed by Gutzon Borgium, of President Wilson to the people of Poland; the Monroe Centennial Celebration, on the 10th anniversary of the death of James Monroe, is broadcast by WJZ radio from the University of Virginia campus, and William R. Castle, under-Secretary of State gives a speech, "Aspects of the Monroe Doctrine"
1932- Ernest Lee Jahncke, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, presents a speech at Independence Hall, Philadelphia; a group of Mexicans present a plaque honoring Dwight W. Morrow to the United States, in Mexico City; at the Bronx, N.Y., a marble monument to Gouverneur Morris, a signer and contributor to the Constitution, is unveiled at St. Ann's Protestant Episcopal Church
1933- 150 United States warships decorated in multicolor signal bunting give a simultaneous 21-gun salute at 30 ports along the Pacific coast; 3,000 voices sing "My Old Kentucky Home" and other melodies of Stephen Collins Foster in a tribute to the composer at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, Kentucky; Morristown National Historical Park in New Jersey is dedicated; in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Marine Bugle Corps sounds reveille in front of the U.S. embassy in honor of the Fourth
1934- U.S. cruiser Houston on its way towards Panama gives a 21-gun salute as a Navy tribute to President Roosevelt who is vacationing in the Bahamas; at Arlington Cemetary, a plaque in memory of the Unknown Soldier is added to the permanent collection of memorial trophies there; the first annual historical pageant of Southwestern Virginia takes place in Roanoke, Va., before a crowd of 50,000; Takoma Park, Md., presents a pageant depicting the tercentenary of Maryland and its history; fireworks set off cause a fire on the grounds of the Statue of Liberty in New York; in Baton Rouge, La., members of the Louisiana Legislature convene their meeting by tossing firecrackers at each other's feet; the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is rung by a hammer "guided by an electrical impulse transmitted from Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's base in Antarctica"
1935- Near Tuscumbia, Ala., 30,000 persons attend Tennessee Valley Authority appreciation day event; in Rockport, Ind., the Lincoln Pioneer Village is dedicated; Herbert Hoover gives an address in Grass Valley, Calif., before a crowd of 6,000; in Paris, a plaque in honor of John Paul Jones is unveiled at the Rue des Ecluses, the site where the Admiral was buried until 1905, while another plaque in honor of Benjamin Franklin and King Louis XVI of France, both of whom signed the Treaty of Friendship on 6 Feb. 1778, is unveiled at the Hotel de Coislin, the building where the event took place
1936- Near Boonsboro, Md., on South Mountain, a "109 year-old monument, believed to be the first erected [on July 4, 1827] to the memory of George Washington" is rededicated; in New York, Harry W. Laidler, Socialist candidate for Governor of New York, calls for a new Declaration of Independence against "judicial tyranny and industrial autocracy"; the Long Island Tercentenary Celebration in Suffolk County, N.Y., begins; at Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., Farragut Day (135th anniversary of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut's birth) is celebrated in tandem with the Fourth event; in New York, the Tammany Hall celebration marks its 150th anniversary
1937- The Boy Scouts of America participate in a torchlight procession on the Washington Monument Grounds as part of that organization's National Jamboree event; at Rebild National Park in north Jutland, Denmark, Danes blow "lurs," great ancestral horns, for the opening of the Fourth of July celebration held there
1939- In Andover, N.J., the Ordnungadienst, an American-Nazi group, marched in uniform ignoring a New Jersey law prohibiting the wearing of foreign uniforms and giving alien salutes; on the eve of Independence Day, officials in Buffalo decided that Buffalo's 175-foot Liberty Pole must come down after 45 years
1940- President Roosevelt officially turns over the library bearing his name to the Federal Government
1941- Chief Justice Harland Fiske Stone leads the nation in a live radio broadcast of the "Pledge of Allegiance" from Estes Park, Colorado; Attorney General Robert H. Jackson broadcasts a radio speech; the government of Australia officially recognizes the Fourth of July for the first time in that country's history and orders the American flag to be flown on all government buildings
1942- Fireworks in most cities are canceled due to war blackouts in place and many persons go to work to do their part with the war effort; three "liberty" ships are launched in Baltimore; in Philadelphia at the site of the Liberty Bell, 200 young men are inducted into the armed forces; in New York, at a service of the "Eternal Light," flags of the allied nations are displayed in a colorful V for victory and 408 air raid sirens are sounded at noon ; in Washington, D.C., "civilian protective forces" are put on alert in case of emergency; in Metuchen, N.J., 2,000 Danes celebrate in honor of the 30th anniversary of the celebration at Rebild National Park in Denmark, that begun in 1912
1943- In Washington, D.C., John Clagett Proctor reads an original poem at the annual Independence Day observance by the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia society held in the Old Union Engine Fire House.
1945- In Berlin, the Stars and Stripes are hoisted over the Adolf Hitler Barracks in a formal ceremony there, and to the sound of a 48-gun salute.
1946- Americans observe the first peacetime Fourth in five years, as occupation troops celebrate with parades and artillery salutes in Germany and Japan; in Des Moines, Iowa, the 100th anniversary of Iowa statehood is celebrated
1947- In Washington, D.C., the Fourth ceremony at the Monument Grounds is televised for the first time
1949- In Washington, D.C., a scene, "The Drafting of the Declaration of Independence," from Paul Green's The Common Glory is presented on the Monument grounds.
1950- On the Monument grounds in Washington, D.C., John Foster Dulles, special consultant to the State Department, gives a Fourth of July speech centering on the North Korean invasion of South Korea; in Bled, Yugoslavia, Premier Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia attends a Fourth of July party
1951- New Canaan, Connecticut celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding
1953- A draft of the Declaration of Independence, as part of a "Milestones of Freedom" exhibit, goes on display today in the New York Public Library
1956- In Tokyo, an anti-American rally consisting of 10,000 persons demonstrating against military bases in Japan occurs; the Association of Oldest Inhabitants in Washington, D.C. has its final fourth of July celebration at the Old Union Engine House, an event first begun in 1909
1959- President Eisenhower gives a speech and lays the third cornerstone in the 166-year history of the U.S. Capitol; the 49th-star American flag waves for the first time as Alaska achieves statehood
1960- The 50th-star American flag waves for the first time as Hawaii is given statehood
1961- Fourth of July celebrations at the U.S. embassy in London and other world capitals are reduced due to Kennedy administration limitations imposed on such holiday celebrations in April; African-Americans stage "swim-ins" at public white swimming spots at Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and Lynchburg, Va.; Manila (Philippines) stages its biggest celebration ever in honor of General Douglas MacArthur; in Berlin, a 50-gun salute from Patton tanks takes place; in Philadelphia, the flag that flies continuously over the grave of Betsy Ross (this country's first American flag-maker) is stolen
1962- Former Vice President Nixon gives anti-communist address at a ceremony in Aalborg, Denmark; at Congressional Cemetary in Washington, D.C., 200 persons gather to honor Elbridge Gerry, Vice President of the U.S. in 1813-14 and the only signer of the Declaration of Independence buried in Washington.
1963- The annual "Let Freedom Ring" tradition begins as houses of worship across the country simultaneously ring their bells 13 times; Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies of Australia gives speech at Monticello
1964- A reading of the Declaration of Independence by John F. Kennedy is broadcast over radio airwaves; a group of 8 African-Americans representing the Congress of Racial Equality demonstrate at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, shortly after former President Truman addresses a crowd of several hundred persons; in Prescott, Arizona, Senator Barry Goldwater rides a horse in the annual Frontier Days Rodeo parade there
1966- The first annual re-enactment of the historic 1783 celebration in Salem, N.C., occurs there; an exact replica of Independence Hall (Philadelphia) is opened to the public at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California (the opening is announced in the U.S. Congress on June 21, 1966); the Freedom of Information Act is signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson
1968- Anti-war demonstrations mar speeches given by Vice President Hubert Humphrey in Philadelphia and Gov. George Wallace in Minneapolis
1969- Former President Harry S. Truman views a parade in his home town of Independence, Mo.
1970- "Honor America Day," initiated by Rev. Billy Graham and Hobart Lewis of Reader's Digest, is celebrated in Washington, D.C.
1971- In Manila, Ambassador Henry A. Byroade unveils a monument that commemorates the destruction of American flags by U.S. personnel there 29 years earlier to prevent the Japanese from finding them; in New York, the cast of 1776, a musical based on the Declaration of Independence, reads the document in costume in Times Square
1972- In the Wall Street area of New York, tourists and others celebrate "July 4th in Old New York"
1973- Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy give speeches at a "Spirit of America" event in Decatur, Ala.; the 25th annual P.T. Barnum festival takes place in Bridgeport, Conn., with Sen. Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. participating
1974- A reenactment of the Frederick Douglass speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" takes place at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; in Raleigh, N.C., thousands of protestors march in hopes of rekindling the 1960s civil rights movement; "Bicentennial Minutes," consisting of 732 one-minute television spots about the nation's heritage begins (and is scheduled to be completed on 4 July 1976)
1975- A re-enactment of the shelling of Fort McHenry takes place there with some 40 ships participating; Pulitzer-Prize winner Dumas Malone gives speech at Monticello
1976- The nation's Bicentennial occurs. At 2 p.m., the time the Declaration of Independence was originally approved, churches and people throughout the nation ring bells to mark the occasion; "Operation Sail" takes place in New York where millions watch hundreds of ships, representing no less than 22 nations, parade; in Boston, the USS Constitution fires her cannons, the first time in 95 years; the largest number of American flags (10,471) ever flown over the U.S. Capitol in one day, for the purposes of sales and gifts occurs; a 13-month long wagon train consisting of 2,500 wagons traveling across the country arrives at Valley Forge, Pa.; in Baltimore at Fort McHenry, a re-enactment of the historic bombardment takes place while citizens feast on a 69,000- pound birthday cake; President Ford gives a speech at Valley Forge, Pa. and at ceremonies at Independence Hall in Philadelphia; the Miami Beach Convention Center is converted into a Federal court room in order to naturalize 7,241 persons, the largest group to be naturalized at one time in the history of the country; in Sparks, Nevada, the James C. Lillari Railroad Park is dedicated; in New Bremen, Ohio, the New Bremen Historical Museum is dedicated; in Clinton, Missouri, the Henry County Museum is dedicated; in Charlotte, Michigan, the Eaton County Courthouse is dedicated
1977- Ku Klux Klansmen fight protestors at a rally held in Columbus, Ohio
1978- USS Constitution,the Navy's oldest commissioned ship, gives a 21-gun salute at Charlestown, Mass.; in Port Tobacco, Maryland, a memorial plaque is placed at the burial location of Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1979- In Toledo, Ohio, parades and other celebrations are postponed to Labor Day due to the unsettled labor situation with police and fire fighters there
1980- Throughout the country, the Fourth is "observed amid somber reminders" of the 53 American citizens held hostage in Iran as residents in Cleveland plant 53 trees in their memory
1981- President Reagan, recovering from an assassin's bullet, leaves George Washington Hospital in Washington, D.C. for the first time to view the fireworks at the Mall; the 14th annual Yippies July 4th march to repeal anti-marijuana laws occurs in Washington, D.C.
1982- President Reagan gives welcome speech for astronauts Thomas K. Mattingly and Henry W. Hartsfield as they land the space shuttle Columbia at Edwards Air Force Base in California
1983- In Bladensburg, Md., a Korean and Vietnam War Memorial is unveiled; the 185-year-old shipConstitution fires a 21-gun salute in Boston Harbor
1984- Top-Sail '84 takes place off the California coast and includes 26 tall ships, the largest group of sailing ships to converge there in the twentieth century; Gatlinburg, Tenn. has the first parade in the nation on this day it begins one minute after midnight; in Westville, Georgia, residents re-enact a typical 1850s Fourth of July; in New York, the Statue of Liberty torch is removed to make way for a new replacement, as a crowd of 4000 persons watch
1988- The rebuilt shuttle Discovery is taken to its launch pad in a ceremony attended by 2,000 Kennedy Space Center workers; ; a Soviet delegation, headed by Nikolai Sernenovich Kartashov, director of the Lenin State Library, watch the Fourth fireworks from the top of the Library of Congress, with Librarian of Congress James Billington; a star-studded tribute to Irving Berlin on the West Lawn of the Capitol takes place
1989- American flag burnings and pro-American flag rallies occur in many places throughout the U.S. while in Newport News, Va.., Vice President Dan Quayle defends the Bush administration's proposal to ban flag-burning; July 4, 1989 is designated Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day in honor of the 50th anniversary of Gehrig's farewell from baseball address on July 4, 1939; a medal of liberty is awarded to Polish union leader Lech Walesa in Philadelphia; in Boston, the pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square are honored by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts; at a celebration held at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, 7 Chinese students ask for political asylum in the U.S.
1990- In Molalla, Oregon, at the 67th annual Giant Buckeroo Street Parade, Senator Bob Packwood (R-Ore) and others wear yellow ribbons demonstrating their support of the timber industry versus those supporting the preservation of endangered spotted owls; a colonial re-enactment of Colonists versus the British occurs in front of the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
1991- The National Civil Rights Museum is dedicated in Memphis, Tenn.
1992- The seven astronauts in the shuttle Columbia unfurl the Stars and Stripes and chant "Happy Birthday, America" from space; the Navy unveils new aircraft carrier, USS George Washington, with Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney giving a speech
1993- Johnny Cash recites his patriotic poem, "Rugged Old Flag," in Washington, D.C. while citizens there hold flags in honor of prisoners of war and servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War
1994- A small but meaningful parade occurs in Sylmar, California, to lift the spirits of those who suffered due to the devastating Northridge earthquake which occurred in the previous January; in Hydes, Alaska, the municipal office building burns down after the village's supply of fireworks catches fire; the village of Fishkill, N.Y., continues its 92-year-old tradition of having the Declaration of Independence read in public; in Gloucester, N.J., a fireworks shell plunges into a crowd of spectators injuring 40
1995- Dunbarton, N.H., welcomes five candidates (Bob Dole, Kansas; Senator Phil Gramm, Texas; Patrick Buchanan; Bob Dornan, Calif.; Alan Keyes) for the presidential nominations; in Oklahoma City, Okla., all flags are raised to full staff at 9:02 a.m., the exact time that the Federal Building there was bombed (19 April); in Indianapolis, the Fourth is the final Independence Day flag raising at Fort Benjamin Harrison, due to its closing in the Army's downsizing; the first July 4th celebration occurs in Hanoi, Vietnam by 500 Americans since the end of the War and on the site where the former American Consulate stood
1996- Fourth of July greetings are sent by astronauts on the shuttle Columbia in space; near the Pautauxent River, in Maryland, President Clinton watches as an eagle called "Freedom" is released; Secretary of Defense William Perry visits 18,000 troops in Bosnia; the 20th anniversary with Willie Nelson at Luckenback, Tex. occurs; at Monticello, 66 persons representing 33 countries take the oath of naturalization; The Nix Ya Wii Warriors Memorial on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon is dedicated and includes about 400 names of tribal warriors
1997- The U.S. Pathfinder spacecraft lands on Mars and President Clinton states, "On this important day, the American people celebrate another exciting milestone in our nation's long heritage of progress, discovery, and exploration"; the Boston Pops Orchestra celebrates the centennial celebration of "The Stars and Stripes Forever March" by John Philip Sousa, in Boston
1998- Many towns across Florida and Disney World as well cancel firework celebrations due to risk of setting additional forest fires in that states's worst fire disaster in fifty years; Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) schedules oath-taking for 18,500 immigrants in 27 ceremonies, with the largest occurring in Los Angeles; the135th anniversary Gettysburg battle reenactment takes place; four children who are descendants of Declaration signers tap the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia 13 times, signaling the start of this year's continuing "Let Freedom Ring" tradition, begun in 1963
1999- In Philadelphia, 112 people all born on the Fourth of July since 1900 gather in front of Independence Hall for a "Photo of the Century" (co-sponsored by Kodak) and a historic celebration reenactment of a July 4, 1899 celebration occurs at Rittenhouse Square (includes speeches by "President McKinley" and "Theodore Roosevelt"), while a re-enactment of a British Navy attack on Fort Mifflin takes place (on July 3) and Kim Dae Jung, President of South Korea, is given the 1999 Philadelphia Liberty Medal on behalf of his work for freedom in South Korea; in Chicago, the Chicago Historical Society celebrates its 40th annual 4th of July celebration; in Havre de Grace, Md., town officials dedicate a memorial exhibit at the Susquehanna Museum to the 232 Harford County residents who died in World War I and II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars; Kaskaskia Bell State Historic Site on Kaskaskia Island, Ill., celebrates it 30th annual Independence Day celebration honoring the first ringing of its liberty bell on July 4, 1778; in Louisville, Kentucky, Waterfront Park is dedicated; in Rockford, Ill., a granite war memorial is dedicated in Veterans Park
2000- In New York, the largest assemblage of ships ever at one event takes place as "Operation Sail 2000" and includes some 150 tall sailing ships from more than 20 nations and an 11-mile line of warships with more than two dozen naval ships from around the world as the sixth "International Naval Review" (among the honored guests are President Clinton and Secretary of Defense William Cohen); in Washington, there is a "National Independence Day Parade," an annual "Capitol Fourth" concert at the Capitol, and the Declaration of Independence is read in front of the steps of the National Archives and a Revolutionary War battle re-enactment takes place there following a brief speech by John W. Carlin, Archivist of the United States; in Orlando at Disney World, a giant 1 and a half-ton, 24 by 13 foot cherry cobbler that looks like the Star-Spangled Banner is dished out to all; at Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright presents a speech at the 38th annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony as more than 80 persons representing 27 countries take the oath for U.S. citizenship; in Freedom Park in Arlington, Va., immigrants take the oath of allegiance and naturalization ceremonies also take place in Miami and Seattle; in Atlanta and Stone Mountain, Georgia, the "Salute 2 America Parade" and the "Famous Americans: Past, Present and Future" parade, respectively, take place, as well as military drills and demonstrations at Fort Morris Historic Site; 2 overseas celebrations, one at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan and the other at a street fair in Brussels, Belgium, are cancelled due to a threat of terrorism; in Philadelphia, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick receive 2000 Philadelphia Liberty Medals; in Yorba Linda, California, at the Richard Nixon Library, a replica of the "Betsy Ross" flag is raised and a re-enactment of the Battle of Lexington and Concord occurs
2001- Public readings of the Declaration of Independence take place throughout the country, including the National Archives in Washinton, D.C., the Art Museum in Philadelphia, and the Old State House in Boston; in Lititz, Pa., a re-enactment of a Revolutionary War encampment of a German regiment takes place as that town has its "Lighting Freedom's Flame" celebration; in Washington, D.C., the Charters of Freedom (Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights) are removed (the first such removal in nearly 50 years) from the Rotunda for preservation improvements and will not be displayed again until 2003, and hundreds of persons sign a facsimile edition of the Declaration that will be added to the Archives for posterity; in Philadelphia, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is given the 13th Liberty Medal at Independence Hall; throughout the U.S., numerous thematic celebrations take place as Tampa has its "Aquafest" celebration, Beavercreek, Ohio presents its "2001: A Space Odyssey" event, New York's theme is "Voices of Liberty," and Old Salem, N.C. has its "Frolick on the Fourth" celebration; in Boston, Chinatown holds its first-ever formal celebration of U.S. Independence Day and 19 immigrants are naturalized aboard the Constitution, the oldest commissioned vessel in the Navy; in Barnstable, Mass., a statue for American patriot Mercy Otis Warren is dedicated; 71 immigrants are naturalized at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson; in Atlanta, Navy Lt. Shane Osborn, the pilot of a spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet in April, is grand marshal in the city's parade there; from the International Space Station, astronauts proclaim "We give thanks to our ancestors . . . to all Americans, Happy Independence Day"
2002- The most intense security precautions in the history of the Fourth of July take place across the country as a guard against the threat of possible terrorist attacks, but the American people celebrate anyway, voicing their jubilation about freedoms enjoyed in this country; celebrations and ceremonies across the country in both large and small cities include tributes to all those who lost their lives on September 11 for example, in Juneau, Alaska, the Filipino community enters a float in the local parade which is designed to resemble images of the rubble of the World Trade Center, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, the parade features girders and a fire truck from the World Trade Center wreckage, in New York City, 11 chimes are sounded at the Macy's fireworks display in memory of 9/11, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, 3 firefighters reenact the raising of the American flag in the World Trade Center amidst tears on a float in the parade there, and in Ridgefield Park, N.J., two members of the community who lost their lives on 9/11 are honored with a float depicting a jet fighter; in Kinnelon, N.J., the annual children's Fourth of July parade features girls wearing U.S.A. barrettes and boys with American flags; at Monticello, 70 immigrants are naturalized; fireworks are canceled in a number of states in the West due to severe drought conditions; in Havana, Cuba's communist government holds a Fourth of July celebration, with Fidel Castro in attendance; in Show Low, Arizona, families wearing red, white and blue hold a parade and cheer firefighters who helped save the area from the largest wildfire in Arizona state history; U.S. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is awarded the 2002 Philadelphia Liberty Medal for his leadership in the war on terrorism and his efforts in the Middle East; four persons celebrating the Fourth in San Dimas, California, are killed and 12 injured by a small plane that crashes into them; Shanksville, Pa., holds its first Fourth of July parade ever in the history of the town to honor the 9/11 crash victims of United Airlines Flight 93; in San Diego, the Declaration of Independence is publicly read in Spanish; in Disney World in Orlando, 500 immigrants from 89 countries are sworn in as citizens; President Bush issues an executive order allowing 15,000 immigrants serving active duty in the U.S. military to receive immediate eligibility for citizenship
(This page last updated July 3, 2003)
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