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4th of July parade, historic

Whether it’s referred to as July 4th, Independence Day, The Fourth of July or (colloquially) as “America’s Birthday”, the sentiment remains the same. It is a day to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and all it represents. Sources reveal that “It wasn’t until 1781 that the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration”. Other states held their own events until “in 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees. Finally, in 1938, Congress changed it to a paid federal holiday.”

Cities and towns across the country mark this historic holiday with patriotic events and parades proudly featuring the American flag and including all sorts of red, white and blue decorations and clothing. Huge bonfires and fireworks displays accompanied by patriotic songs typically round out the day and confirm the collective national pride in our country and appreciation for those who have given their lives for our freedom.

The archives of the Stoneham Historical Society & Museum is a great resource for pictures of these kinds of local celebrations as far back as the late 1800s. This sample image confirms Stoneham’s pride in its heritage, traditions, accomplishments and townspeople. Though only black and white photography was available at that time, we can only imagine that the impact of the brilliant colors must’ve been very spectacular.