Why do we celebrate Independence Day with Fireworks?

John Adams, who signed the declaration of independence, wanted us to celebrate with fireworks. The festivities that he had in mind would light up this whole continent from one side to another. He wrote on July 3rd, 1776 “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.”
In 1777, Congress made it legal to use fireworks or pyrotechnics for celebrating Independence Day. James Heintze wrote the book “Fourth of July Encyclopedia,” and talks about how the symbolism in our celebration is a good thing. In one instance they fired 13 rockets to represent the 13 states. In 1777, the use of fireworks was seen in various places but by 1876, 100 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the use of fireworks had spread almost everywhere. Cities would compete with one another to outdo each other with a better fireworks display. New York became the leader and even had 15 displays in the city. Even to this day, New York is among the top rated fireworks displays in the country during the 4th of July. Macy’s holds their annual display for the 38th consecutive run this year.
However, Fireworks can be dangerous and in the early days of the United States some western states would use dynamite in celebration instead of fireworks. As you can imagine, it could be quite dangerous to be in the streets during the Fourth of July. Terrible fires also affected cities throughout the 19th century caused by excessive firework use. The Twentieth century brought about a “crack down” on fireworks in the street. This was aided by medical associations who would track deaths that were caused by fireworks.
Today, you may not be able to light a stick of dynamite in the street (thankfully so) but you can help light up the sky “from one end of this continent to another” in remembrance and celebration of our county’s origin.
Happy Independence Day from Community Home Care!