Hola! America is turning 227 years old this week, and we're having a fiesta. So chicos y chicas, don your favorite red, white or blue clothes and let's wish USA Feliz Cumpleanos. We have planned a traditional birthday party full of wonderful treats. You can join the children out on the streets and participate in bike parades or marching bands. The dads are busy grilling picnic lunches on barbeque grills. Moms are baking yummy apple pies. We will round off the party by joining our friends and neighbors at the local city ground in the evening to watch the spectacular fireworks display. Before we get on with the celebrations, however, wouldn't you like to hear the story behind the birth of this great country?
The United States of America was founded on July 4th 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
At that time, King George III of England ruled over America. The Americans had to pay huge amounts as taxes to the British government. This led to unrest in the colonies. But no one was ready to declare war on the mighty British. In 1774, the colonies made a joint effort to form the First Continental Congress. When news of this act reached England, King George sent troops to America to quell any rebellion. The Battle of Concord, which took place in 1775, marked the beginning of the American War of Independence.
Matters reached a head by June 1776. England refused to give in to the demands made by the Americans. The delegates of the Congress, under the leadership of John Hancock, selected a committee to draft a document declaring America's intention to break away from the rule of the British. Thomas Jefferson was the head of this committee. Other members included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman.
On July 4th, 1776, nine out of the thirteen colonies voted in favor of the Declaration. The Declaration was read aloud to the general public in Philadelphia's Independence Square on July 8th. People cheered and the "Liberty Bells" in the Independence Hall tolled loudly in celebration of this momentous occasion. The signing of the Declaration took place that August. Americans celebrated the first Independence Day on July 4th, 1777.
The Declaration of Independence is a document that symbolizes the courage of those freedom fighters. Just like Gandhiji, Lokmanya Tilak, Chacha Nehru and others of their ilk in India, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Paul Revere and many other freedom fighters risked their lives to make sure Americans would be able to live freely in their own country without any interference from outside powers.
It's time to go back to the fun and frolic now. Don't forget to wear your helmets and kneepads while riding your bikes, and watch out for the sparks that might land on you from the "bombs" exploding in the sky! I'll see you all in a couple of weeks.
List of 13 American Colonies:
Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia.
Red, White and Blue = Colors of the American Flag
Fiesta = Spanish for "party"
Feliz Cumpleanos = Spanish for "Happy Birthday "