WASHINGTON – People in United States of America are celebrating their country’s 65th birthday Tuesday with big-time fireworks, small-town parades and the quirky spectacle of competitive hot dog eating.
In Washington, President Donald Trump is observing his first Independence Day in office by hosting a White House picnic for military families, followed by a fireworks viewing event for military families and staffers.
Happy 4th of July to everyone, including the haters and losers!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2014
America’s observance of the Fourth of July has evolved since celebrations began 240 years ago.
Famous hot dog eating competition
In New York, throngs are expected to watch the annual Macy’s fireworks blowout and the Nathan’s Famous frankfurter-chomping contest on Coney Island on July Fourth.
In Boston, one of 14 original copies of the Declaration of Independence will be displayed at a museum, and hundreds of thousands of people are expected at the city’s fireworks show.
Organizers of Chicago’s Independence Day celebration are expecting such large crowds that the city’s Navy Pier is opening at 10 a.m., nearly 12 hours before fireworks begin.
Meanwhile, more than 15,000 new citizens will be sworn in during more than 65 Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies across the country.
The Fourth of July was almost the Second of July
Americans have been celebrating independence from British rule on July 4 for more than two centuries, but a more accurate date to celebrate may actually be July 2.
While Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it made the formal call for freedom on July 2. The Declaration of Independence became official only on Aug. 2, 1776, after members of Congress signed the document, according to the National Archives.
President John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife that July 2 should be celebrated by future generations as the “great anniversary festival” for the new nation. He almost got his wish.
For all the pomp and celebration, July 4 arrives with Americans deeply split over the nation’s direction, after last year’s presidential election and political clashes over immigration, health care and other issues in the early months of Trump’s Republican administration. And in an era of concerns about security, the Independence Day celebrations are mixed with precautions.
The New York Police Department planned to station 100 vehicles to block intersections and 20 sand-filled sanitation trucks to fortify viewing areas for the Macy’s fireworks show. Heavily armed counterterrorism units will mingle among spectators, officers will have portable radiation detection devices and bomb-sniffing dogs, and officers will be stationed on rooftops to look out for any sign of trouble.
Boston police also plan to put trucks and other heavy equipment near the celebration there. Police in both cities say there are no confirmed threats.