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     Volume 2 Issue 28| July 11, 2010|


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Distant Diary

Stars and Stripes -
A Story of Freebirds

Nabila Chowdhury

FOURTH of July is a national holiday in the United States, when America celebrates its independence day. It is a day when the citizens celebrate the fact that they live in a free nation, a nation that is not under the rule of another. Americans realise that they have freedom of their own and that they live in a nation where each and everyone is given equal rights. It is also a day when they show honour and respect to those who led to a hard-earned freedom. Yet, there is more to the celebration of the independence day than just the fact that it is the birthday of the United States.

Americans call the fourth of July Independence Day because it was the day they declared independence from Great Britain and adopted the Declaration of Independence, which allowed them to break away from the rule of Britain, and finally have their own government. The Declaration of Independence states that a government must run by the wishes of the citizens. In a case where this doesn't happen and the ruling becomes unfair for the people, then they hold the right to revolt. Hence, it means FREEDOM for the United States of America. This year, America has completed a journey of two- hundred and thirty -four years as a nation standing for freedom and equality.

And this is the main reason Americans celebrate the Fourth of July. They are free to live their lives the way they desire. They are entitled to thier own beliefs. They have freedom of speech and can speak their mind without any fear. They are free to spend their money although they still have to pay taxes. They hold the right to live with the freedom to choose their own religion. It took a lot of courage for the individuals who had signed this Declaration, and it was one of those times that we must realize that courage is often needed when freedom is threatened. It is a day when Americans hope to show gratitude and be thankful for a freedom that did not come easy. At the same time, one should also bear in mind that although everyone is free,one cannot intrude upon another’s freedom or space.

All federal institutions such as the postal service and federal courts are closed on this day. Many politicians even make appearances at public events and praise the nation's heritage, history, society, and people. Citizens all over America have their own unique ways of celebrating the Fourth of July. Families and friends decide to take the day off and take full advantage of the day off as they gather and have family re-unions, picnics or watch parades and hear patriotic speeches. They listen to patriotic music, play outdoor games, participate in recreational family planned contests, and at the end of a long, fun-filled day, watch fireworks that take place in parks or town squares. They enjoy the sparkling lights from one end of the sky to another which is a beautiful sight. The fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner", "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", "My Country, 'tis of Thee", "This Land Is Your Land", "Free bird", or "Stars and Stripes Forever.” Families also plan barbecues, attend carnivals, fairs or concerts, watch baseball games or intently listen to political speeches that mark the celebration of the history and tradition of the United States. A salute of one gun for every state in the United States, which is called a “salute to the union,” is fired at noon by the military base.

Last year, New York City had the largest fireworks display in the country, with more than 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploded. As my family and friends enjoyed a day of recreation and relaxation, the most beautiful part was the end of the day when we watched the dazzling fireworks take over the calm night sky. It was quite an unforgettable evening.

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