Why we celebrate the 4th of July

By Informational Post June 27, 2021

You already know the 4th of July is a fun summer holiday, but it’s not all about hot dogs and fireworks. So what's the reason for the celebration? Basically, it's a birthday party! 

That's right, the Fourth of July is the birthday of the United States of America. On July 4, 1776, our country's founders declared independence from Great Britain.

And the reason our country wanted to declare independence? Well, many of the colonists were angry they had to pay taxes to the British government, even though they had no vote in the decisions that affected them. And so Thomas Jefferson wrote that famous letter to King George, which is known as the Declaration of Independence. It was signed by 56 men representing each of the 13 colonies. The first, and largest, signature on the letter is John Hancock’s. Some people say he wrote his name large so that King George would be able to read it without his glasses!

These 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. This was no idle pledge... 9 signers died of wounds during the Revolutionary War and 5 were captured or imprisoned. Wives and children were killed, jailed, mistreated or left penniless. 12 signers' houses were burned to the ground and 17 lost everything they owned. However, not one signer defected - their honor, like their nation, remained intact.

The first public Fourth of July celebration at the White House took place in 1804, and finally, almost 100 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Congress declared July 4 to be a national holiday for the United States of America. And that’s why we celebrate!

So next time you're asked to bring a dessert to a picnic, you might just want to consider a birthday cake!

This is a great time to see how much your family knows about this holiday! Scroll to the bottom for the answers.

1. Which country were the colonists fighting against to gain their independence?
    a. France
    b. Ireland
    c. Great Britain
    d. Italy
2. Only one person signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. Who was it?
    a. John Hancock
    b. Benjamin Franklin
    c. George Washington
    d. Thomas Jefferson
3. How many stars were on the first American flag?
    a. 17
    b. 12
    c. 20
    d. 13
4. Where is the Liberty Bell located today?
    a. Washington D.C.
    b. Boston
    c. Philadelphia
    d. New York
5. Who was the oldest person to sign the Declaration of Independence?
    a. Thomas Jefferson
    b. John Adams
    c. John Hancock
    d. Franklin Roosevelt
6. Who wrote the Star Spangled Banner?
    a. Katharine Lee Bates
    b. Francis Scott Key
    c. John Phillip Sousa
    d. Lee Greenwood
7. What do the stars on the flag symbolize?
    a. The states
    b. The original colonies
    c. One for each person that signed it
    d. Freedom
8. Who sewed the first American flag?
    a. Martha Washington
    b. Mary Todd Lincoln
    c. Betsy Ross
    d. Dolly Madison
9. In what city was the Declaration of Independence signed?
    a. New York
    b. Philadelphia
    c. Washington D.C.
    d. Boston
10. Which country invented fireworks to ward off evil spirits?
    a. England
    b. China
    c. Japan
    d. Ireland


1. c. Great Britain
2. a. John Hancock
3. d. 13
4. c. Philadelphia
5. a. Thomas Jefferson
6. b. Francis Scott Key
7. a. The states — one star for each
8. c. Betsy Ross
9. b. Philadelphia
10. b. China