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The 4th of July is a national U.S. holiday also commonly known as Independence Day. The 4th of July in 2014 falls on a Friday.

The 4th of July celebrates the country’s Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. The actual legal separation of the former 13 colonies actually took place on July 2, 1776, but but the declaration document written by Thomas Jefferson (later the third president of the United States) was not ratified until two days later.

John Adams, later second president of the United States, wrote that “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. “

He was almost right, though the celebration has taken place on the 4th of July from the beginning. Early festivities often included 13-gun salutes, parades, and fireworks. Modern-day 4th of July celebrations still include the latter two.. The Macy’s 4th of July fireworks display in New York City is one of the biggest in the country and usually televised.

Independence Day is a federal holiday, meaning courts, post offices, and other government entities are closed.

Ironically, the 4th of July also marks the death of Founding Fathers Adams and Jefferson — the two ex-presidents died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe, the fifth president, also died on the 4th of July in 1831. The only president born on the 4th of July is Calvin Coolidge n 1872.

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