Senior edition: Independence Day a source of pride for seniors

By Holly Steele - For PCCOA

EATON — Each year on July 4, the United States celebrates its Independence Day. The 4th of July has been an official federal holiday since 1941, but the tradition itself is much older. In fact, the celebration can be traced all the way back to the 18th century – specifically the times of the American Revolution.

In June 1776, men representing the 13 colonies struggling against Great Britain’s rule dared to ask a controversial question: Could they declare their own independence? On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of the declaration. Just two days later, on July 4th, and delegates of the Congress adopted and ratified a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. The life-changing document was our Declaration of Independence. From that day forward, the 4th of July has signified the birth of America’s independence.

By the year 1870, Congress moved to declare July 4th a federal holiday. However, it was not until 1941 that Independence Day was considered a paid government holiday for federal employees and most businesses. Most agree the holiday is a strong symbol of patriotism.

As the 4th of July comes around in the middle of summer, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and cookout. Celebrations around the nation often revolve around bar-b-q and fireworks displays. Thousands of American flags proudly fly, swaying in the warm breeze. The United States national anthem can be heard at events and organized celebrations.

Independence Day is particularly important to seniors, as most elderly men fought in a branch of the military and their wives spent long months hoping for their safe return. Patriotism is important to seniors. They value the concept of freedom and often paid the ultimate sacrifice to promote it. It’s this sense of pride that led people from all points of the globe to migrate to this country.

For seniors who migrated to the United States, it’s important to keep the details of that journey alive. Children and grandchildren should know about the struggles and accomplishments senior loved ones experienced in search of freedom. After all, every family plays a role in America’s own unique story.


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By Holly Steele