American Holidays in Summer by Mabel
Earlier this year, we planned our summer and we enjoyed our summer vacations with our friends and family. I love summer, and there are many activities that I like to do in this season. I like to swim, walk on the beach, visit friends, and water ski. Did you know that there are three holidays that are celebrated in summer? In May, we celebrate Memorial Day. In June, we celebrate Flag Day. In July, we celebrate Independence Day.
Memorial Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday in May. It is a day when we remember those who have dedicated their lives in military service to our country. People believe that May was chosen because the flowers would be in bloom, and it was originally called Decoration Day. Several places had claimed to be the birthplace of this holiday. However, Waterloo, New York, was recognized as the birthplace, by congressional proclamation in 1966. Nevertheless, it was not until after World War I, that this day came to be observed in honor of veterans who had died in all U.S. wars, and it was renamed as a result. Memorial Day is observed with the religious services, parades, and speeches that are held nationwide. Flags and flowers are placed on the graves of veterans in local cemeteries. Memorial Day has also become a sign of the beginning of summer.
Flag Day is celebrated every year on June 14. In this holiday, Americans remember the grand history of our flag. It commemorates the date in 1777 when the United States of America approved the design for its first national flag. Although no one is certain of who truly made our first American flag, it is believed that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag. It is said that General George Washington brought a rough sketch of a flag to Ross’ sewing shop in Philadelphia. He wanted a unique flag for America that would make his soldiers feel that they are fighting for a real nation. After Ross made a few changes, she sewed the flag in her back parlor. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the thought to set aside a day for the national flag came from many people throughout many years. However, it was not until 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June fourteen as the official date for Flag Day. Later, in 1949, the U.S. Congress finally established the date of June fourteen as National Flag Day. Although Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, every year, the president of the United States delivers an address that declares the week of June fourteen as National Flag Week; and throughout this weekly holiday, all U.S. citizens are encouraged to wave and fly American flags.
Independence Day commemorates our independence and freedom from Great Britain. It is celebrated every year on July 4. This is the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. Before that date, the Declaration of Independence Committee, or the Committee of Five, had Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Thomas Jefferson as its five members. Jefferson, the youngest, was chosen to draft the declaration; and Adams and Franklin made several edits. Then, on July 4, 1776, the committee presented the document to the Second Continental Congress to be signed. This document declared the American colonies as independent from British rule. There is also an interesting story of the Liberty Bell at that time. Although it is said that the Liberty Bell was tolled on July 4, at the signing of the declaration, nevertheless this is a misconception. Historians instead believe that the Liberty Bell was most likely tolled on July 8, 1776, at the public reading of the declaration. Every year on July 4, we celebrate our independence and freedom by going out on picnics, by taking part in parades, by launching fireworks, and through many other ways.
These three holidays bring flavor to our summer vacation. They bring thoughts of patriotism to remind us that the prosperity and the freedom that we live in has been paid for by our heroes on Memorial Day, and by the faith and hopes of our Founding Fathers on Independence Day, and by our symbol of freedom, our dear Old Glory. We must, therefore, pay great respect to our veterans, our Founding Fathers, and our flag. May you all have a wonderful summer vacation and may you remember the reasons behind the greatness of our nation. God bless America.
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011, Ultimate DVD, “Memorial Day.”
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011, Ultimate DVD, “Flag Day.”
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011, Ultimate DVD, “Betsy Ross.”
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011, Ultimate DVD, “Independence Day.”