It's the  !

The following information is from Just 4 Kids Magazine website.

Independence Day, also known as 4th of July, is the birthday of the United States of America. It is celebrated on July 4th each year in the United States. It is the anniversary of the day on which the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress - July 4, 1776, the day they announced to the world that the 13 colonies no longer belonged to Great Britain. Independence Day was first observed in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776.

On July 4, 1777, the night sky of Philadelphia lit up with the blaze of bonfires. Candles illuminated the windows of houses and public buildings. Church bells rang out loudly, and cannons were shot from ships, breaking the silence. The city was celebrating the first anniversary of the founding of the United States.

The Fourth of July soon became the main patriotic holiday of the entire country. Veterans of the Revolutionary War made a tradition of gathering on the Fourth to remember their victory. In towns and cities, the American flag flew; shops displayed red, white, and blue decorations; and people marched in parades that were followed by public readings of the Declaration of Independence. In 1941, Congress declared July 4 a federal legal holiday.


The 13 Colonies were

Connecticut
Delaware
Georgia
Maryland
Massachusetts Bay
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Virginia

Click here to see an animated map, with narration, of how our country grew. Click the X, then click Play.

 I LOVE MY COUNTRY!

In America , there are several symbols that represent our freedom.

Our flag is probably our most important symbol.

Our First Flag

The first flag representing the United States was sanctioned by George Washington using colors from the British King's Colours. It was called the Grand Union flag.

Betsy Ross and Our Flag

It was decided that a new flag was needed to represent America, and it was decided to be red, white, and blue, with stars and stripes representing the colonies. The legend says that George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross (Betsy Ross's late husband's uncle) came to Betsy's home and asked her to sew the new flag. Originally, George Washington had wanted 6-pointed stars on the flag, but Betsy Ross demonstrated how to cut a 5-pointed star in a single snip, and the committee was so impressed that they allowed Betsy Ross to sew our new American flag, using the 5-pointed star. (Click here to see how--it really works!) Historians can find no evidence to show that this is a true story.

Francis Hopkinson and Our Flag

Francis Hopkinson was a popular patriot, a lawyer, a Congressman from New Jersey , a signer of the Declaration of Independence, poet, artist, and distinguished civil servant. He almost certainly was the person who designed the first Stars and Stripes. In a letter in 1780, he stated that he had designed "the flag of the United States of America," as well as other drawings for the Treasury and symbols (such as the Great Seal of the US), but had received no payment for his work. His opponents never denied he made the designs, but they refused to pay him. The design of the first Stars and Stripes by Hopkinson had thirteen six-sided stars arranged in a "staggered" pattern that, if connected, resembled the crosses of the British flag. This is probably why later designs were changed to three rows of stars, but since he favored the six-sided stars, there is no explanation of why his six-sided stars became five-sided, if he was the one who actually made the first flag.

 

OUR FLAG

On June 14, 1777, at Philadelphia , the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress offered the resolution which resulted in the adoption of the Flag of the United States . As new states were admitted it became evident that the number of stripes in the flag would have to be limited. Congress ordered that after July 4, 1818, the flag should have thirteen stripes, symbolizing the thirteen original states, that the union would have twenty stars, and that a new star should be added on the July 4th following admission of a new state. The permanent arrangement of the stars is not designated, and no star is specifically identified with any state. Since 1912, following the admission of a new state, the new design has been announced by executive order. The original resolution read: "Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." We celebrate Flag Day on June 14 every year.

 

The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance (I promise to be true)

to the flag (to the symbol of our country)

of the United States of America (each state that has joined to make our country)

and to the Republic (a country where the people choose others to make laws for them -- the government is for the people)

for which it stands. (the flag means the country)

One nation under God, (a single country)

indivisible, (the country cannot be split into parts)

with liberty and justice for all. (with freedom and fairness for everyone)

History of the Pledge of Allegiance

The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the official program of the National Public Schools Celebration of Columbus Day which was printed in The Youth's Companion of September 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to schools throughout the country. School children first recited the Pledge of Allegiance this way:
"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

"The flag of the United States " replaced the words "my Flag" in 1923 because some foreign-born people might have in mind the flag of the country of their birth instead of the United States flag. A year later, "of America " was added after "United States."

No form of the Pledge received official recognition by Congress until June 22, 1942, when the Pledge was formally included in the U.S. Flag Code. The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954, when Congress passed a law, which added the words "under God" after "one nation."

The Flag Code specifies that any future changes to the pledge would have to be with the consent of the President.

(The above article on the history of the Pledge of Allegiance was written by American Legion .)

Here are some fun activities for Independence Day!

 

Celebrate the Fourth of July

Fireworks Safety Tips

Design Your Own Fireworks Display

Kaboose.com Fourth of July Fun

Find the State game

Enchanted Learning 4th of July Fun

Family Fun July 4th Crafts

Kids Corner

The Fourth for Kids

Woo Jr. Fun

 Flag Care

Ziggity Zoom Summer Fun

DLTK's Summer Crafts

US Flag History

More US Flag History

Apples for the Teacher and Kids

US Capitals game

Stars and Stripes Quiz