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Fireworks Rain As Americans Mark 247th Independence Day Anniversary 

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The United States celebrates its 247th day of independence today amid pomp and display of fireworks. 

 

Fireworks remain at the centre of American Independence Day, celebrated on 4 July. 

 

Thirteen American colonies got freedom from British rule on this day, which is known as Independence Day or the Fourth of July.

 

This day is imbued with patriotic sentiments and a moment to acknowledge the country’s rich history and foundational beliefs.

 

It is celebrated by organising parades and barbecues. People wear clothes and paint themselves in red, white, and blue colour, which are the colours of the American flag. Firework shows are organised which is in the history and tradition of the US and are considered the most crucial part of the Independence Day celebration.

 

Here are the things to know about the Fourth of July, including the origin of the holiday and how fireworks became part of the tradition.

 

The origin of the holiday

Fireworks Rain As Americans Mark 247th Independence Day Anniversary 

The holiday celebrates the Second Continental Congress’ unanimous adoption of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July, 1776, a document announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain.

Fireworks Rain As Americans Mark 247th Independence Day Anniversary 

One year later, according to the Library of Congress, a spontaneous celebration in Philadelphia marked the anniversary of American independence.

 

But across the burgeoning nation, observations didn’t become commonplace until after the War of 1812. It quickly took off: The Library of Congress notes that major historic events in the 19th Century, such as groundbreaking ceremonies for the Erie Canal and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, were scheduled to coincide with Fourth of July festivities.

 

History of fireworks

 

The display of pyrotechnics has been a big part of Independence Day from the outset. Founding Father John Adams saw it coming.

Fireworks Rain As Americans Mark 247th Independence Day Anniversary 

Commemoration of America’s independence “ought to be solemnised with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more,” Adams wrote in a letter to his wife, Abigail, dated 3 July, 1776.

 

Fireworks were around centuries before America became a nation. The American Pyrotechnics Association says many historians believe fireworks were first developed in the second century BC in ancient China by throwing bamboo stalks into fires, causing explosions as the hollow air pockets overheated.

 

By the 15th Century, fireworks were widely used for religious festivals and public entertainment in Europe and early US settlers carried on those traditions, the association said.

 

When John Adams didn’t celebrate anniversary

 

Presidents from George Washington to Joe Biden have celebrated the nation’s birth on the Fourth of July, with one exception: John Adams.

 

His letter to his wife aside, Adams refused to celebrate the holiday on 4 July because he felt 2 July was the real Independence Day. Why? It was on 2 July 1776, that the Continental Congress voted in favour of the resolution for independence, though the Declaration of Independence wasn’t formally adopted until two days later.

 

Adams was so adamant that he turned down invitations to festivals and other events, even while serving as the nation’s second president. Ironically, Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, both died on the 50th anniversary of the document’s formal adoption, 4 July, 1826.

 

Fireworks spike

Consumer sales of fireworks have grown rapidly over the past two decades.

 

Statistics from the American Pyrotechnics Association show that in 2000, American consumers spent $407 million (Rs 3,336 crore) on fireworks. By 2022, that figure rose to $2.3 billion (Rs 18,853,100 crore).

Fireworks Rain As Americans Mark 247th Independence Day Anniversary 

The biggest jump came during the COVID-19 pandemic, when public fireworks displays were shut down. Consumer sales jumped from $1 billion (Rs 8,196,800 crore) in 2019 to $1.9 billion (Rs 15,572,153 crore) in 2020.

 

Sales are expected to rise another $100 million (Rs 819 crore) this year, the association said. It helps that the Fourth of July is on a Tuesday, creating essentially a four-day weekend.

 

Some gets injured badly

According to FirstPost, despite widespread education efforts, thousands of Americans are badly injured by fireworks each year, and this year is no exception.

 

Late Saturday night, firefighters and medics were called to Lexington Township, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas, for reports of a shed on fire and arrived to find fireworks actively exploding from the burning shed and several people lying injured on the ground. 

 

Firefighters, medics and local police dragged the victims from the area to safety, and four people were taken to hospitals — two with serious injuries, Northwest Consolidated Fire District Chief Todd Maxton said in a statement.

 

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2022, 10,200 people were treated at emergency rooms and 11 deaths were blamed on fireworks. About three-quarters of injuries happened in the period around the Fourth of July.

 

About one-third of the injuries were to the head, face, ears or eyes. Finger, hand and leg injuries are common, too.

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