USAGov's Guide to the Fourth of July

June 25, 2018
Fireworks behind Mount Rushmore

This July 4 marks the 242nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. The declaration announced the colonies’ separation from Britain in 1776, but celebrating Independence Day every year became popular after the War of 1812. In 1870 Congress officially made it a federal holiday.

Every year, Americans celebrate what many call the “nation's birthday” with firework shows, parades, and patriotic ceremonies.

Here’s USAGov’s list of ways to celebrate Independence Day:

  1. Visit a park or historical site. Many parks and sites hold Fourth of July events. Search for a park near you and make a plan to visit on the holiday.
  2. Display Old Glory. There’s no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than to display the Stars and Stripes. Hang it on the porch or clamp it on the car, just remember to follow the U.S. Flag Code when displaying and caring for the flag. Check out USAGov’s How to Display the American Flag infographic and download a free copy to keep at home.
  3. Traveling or living abroad? No problem. U.S. consulates and embassies across the world celebrate Independence Day too. Find an embassy and see if staff have events planned for the Fourth of July.
  4. Go to a naturalization ceremony. Every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services marks Independence Day by holding naturalization ceremonies across the country from late June through July 4.  Check if there’s a ceremony near you and share the moment with new Americans.
  5. Participate in a local celebration. Many cities and towns across the country have their own celebrations. From symphonic concerts to parades and marches, America always celebrates its birthday with fun. Find out how your community is commemorating Independence Day and plan to join in.
  6. Grill with friends and family. Spending time with friends and family is a good option for any holiday. Whether you’re headed to a picnic or displaying the flag at a barbecue, make sure the food you’re cooking is well prepared and ready to eat. Learn tips to make sure any meats are cooked safely and how to wash vegetables appropriately at FoodSafety.gov.

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