Independence Day as a celebration began in 1785 with a parade in Bristol, Rhode Island.
The celebration was a remembrance of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776; it was not a celebration of true and full independence (as commonly thought).
Our country was not truly independent until 1783, when Britain officially recognized American sovereignty over most territory east of the Mississippi River.
Even then, the United States as we know it was not fully established until its constitution was ratified in 1788.
The Bill of Rights was even later, being adopted in 1791.
It was not made an official, federal holiday until 1870; it was an unpaid federal holiday until 1938.
Most often today, it seems the day is more a “friends and family get together” holiday than a celebration of history and our victory over oppressive rule, unreasonable taxation, little or no representation of our interests, and general dismissal of those interests by those who ruled.
I find myself wondering how many people spend any time thinking about the reality that, today, one would be hard pressed to establish any viable difference between the United States government’s activities and choices, and those of old Britain that led to the declarations and war for which this day exists.
Perhaps most constrain themselves to taking that “off day” and enjoying family and friends without thinking about it at all.
For me, it is a dark irony; in fact, in so far as there is little (if any) distinguishing difference for which such celebration may still find merit, candidly, I no longer celebrate it at all.