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Join America at Play Come Celebrate
Children on float in Fourth of July parade, Vale, Oregon, 1941.
Children surrounded by flags on a float in the Fourth of July parade, Vale, Oregon, 1941

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Imperial Marimba Band performing "The Stars and Stripes Forever March" 1918

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Fourth of July Celebrations
What do you think is the biggest American holiday? The most significant and uniquely American holiday would have to be the Fourth of July, the day when the United States celebrates its independence from Britain. You might think that it became a holiday immediately after the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, but actually it didn't become a tradition until after the War of 1812.

By the 1870s, the Fourth of July was the most important nonreligious holiday on the calendar. All across the country, on that day, towns and cities held celebrations with parades, barbecues, and fireworks displays.

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CREDIT: Lee, Russell, photographer. "Children on float in Fourth of July parade. Vale, Oregon." 1941 July. America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945, Library of Congress.
AUDIO CREDIT: Sousa, John Philip; Imperial Marimba Band, performers. "The Stars and Stripes Forever March." 1918. Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies, Library of Congress.