This year, Americans will safely celebrate July 4th with fireworks and socially distanced gatherings. It will be the first time we, the people, ring in a national independence holiday under the continued awareness of a pandemic virus and social unrest. And, yet, it will not be the first time our country feels the heavy weight and responsibility to continue forward as a nation together. In 1977, the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, marked the first annual July 4th celebration while Congress charted battles and losses in an ongoing war.

July 4th, 1942 was a quieter holiday in the United States as citizens traded boisterous celebrations with sensitive respect for all those fighting across seas “to preserve the liberties and decencies of modern civilizations”, as President Roosevelt remarked. Some American citizens at home were required to work for wartime efforts, not taking liberty in the day off. Others were reminded that freedom comes with a price as thoughts turned to family members, oceans away, who spent that day fighting.


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