Light Up Your Independence Day with Meaningful Celebrations

Light Up Your Independence Day with Meaningful Celebrations


By Craig Gilman
Faculty Member at American Military University

On July 4, 1776, the second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, which we commemorate on Independence Day. Our founding fathers knew that they risked execution for treason and loss of their lands, homes and possessions if the Revolution failed. But after the Revolutionary War ended, they possessed the wisdom and foresight to follow victory over tyranny by creating the Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution forever guarantees our freedoms as American citizens. Due to our founding fathers’ leadership and sacrifice, as well as the service of millions of U.S. servicemembers throughout American history, we’re able to live with freedom.

There are a number of ways in which to celebrate the Fourth of July. We all are familiar with the “Oohs” and “Aahs” during the finale of the traditional evening community fireworks display, but there are other ways to make the entire day a more meaningful experience. Here are 13 family- and community-friendly traditions, one for each of the original 13 states, you can add to your Independence Day:

  • Proudly and properly fly the flag of the United States of America, from dawn to dusk.
  • Begin the day with a prayer or reflection of thanks for our freedom.
  • Set the Independence Day celebration mood with a patriotic musical playlist, beginning with “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” by John Philip Sousa.
  • Attend a local Independence Day parade or concert.
  • Make a virtual visit to the National Archives to view the original Declaration of Independence.
  • Recall the history of the birth of the United States with children and friends.
  • Host a family picnic or barbecue.
  • Share a story of a family member who has defended our freedom.
  • Thank a veteran for defending our freedoms and liberties.
  • Include local servicemembers, especially those far from home, in your plans.
  • Ponder the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and all they risked for American citizens.
  • Post a list of the freedoms for which you are most thankful on your refrigerator.
  • Say “Ooh” and “Aah” at your local Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

If there is one day that belongs to all Americans, it is Independence Day. It is a day when all partisanship should be put aside. Families, neighbors, communities and the nation can unite in a civil celebration of the freedoms, liberties and opportunities that our great nation affords.

If ever there was a day to celebrate America, Independence Day is that day. Let us do so, all together. It is tradition. It is important. Pass it along.

About the Author 

Craig Gilman is currently an online faculty member and Senior Manager of Military and Community College Outreach Operations with American Military University, a member of the accredited American Public University System. Craig has an M.A. in International Studies and an M.S. in Education, both from Old Dominion University. He is a veteran who served in the Marine Corps. Prior to joining APUS, Craig taught secondary social studies in Virginian schools and Korea International School. He also taught English as a Foreign Language in Tokyo public schools. Craig often presents on the attributes of online education at local, state and national conferences.