In the United States of America, Independence Day is commonly known as Fourth of July. This day marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. On July 4, 1776, the country declared its independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Celebrations are marked with fireworks, carnivals, fairs, concerts, games, political speeches and ceremonies and various other events that celebrate the history and traditions of the country. Let's take a look at some symbols of the USA
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
The Statue of Liberty is a huge sculpture that is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. This monument was a gift to the USA from the people of France in recognition of the French-American alliance during the American Revolution. The formal name of the statue is Liberty Enlightening the World. Liberty was designed by the French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. It was brought to the USA in 350 pieces on a French ship called the Isere and re-assembled in the USA. There are 354 steps inside the statue and its pedestal. There are 25 viewing windows in the crown. The seven rays of Liberty's crown symbolise the seven seas and seven continents of the world. Liberty holds a tablet in her left hand that reads 'July 4, 1776' in Roman numerals. This is the independence day of the USA.
THE BALD EAGLE
The bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, is a magnificent bird of prey that is native to North America. It has been the national symbol of the USA since 1782.
THE LIBERTY BELL
The Liberty Bell is a treasured relic of the early days of American independence. It was cast in England and rung for the first time on July 8, 1776, with other church bells, to announce the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell weighs over 943kgs. Today, the bell hangs in Liberty Bell Pavilion, just north of Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
THE GREAT SEAL OF THE USA
The design of the first seal of the President of the United States of America was created by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The design was approved on June 20, 1782. The seal depicts an American bald eagle holding a ribbon in its beak. The ribbon has the motto of the USA, 'E PLURIBUS UNUM', meaning 'Out of many, one'. The eagle is clutching an olive branch with 13 olives and 13 leaves in one foot and 13 arrows in the other. The 13 stands for the original 13 colonies, the olive branch symbolises peace and the arrows symbolise the acceptance of the need to go to war to protect the country. A shield is in front of the eagle. The shield has 13 red and white stripes representing the original 13 colonies with a blue bar above it. It symbolises the uniting of the 13 colonies and represents the Congress. Above the eagle are rays, a circle of clouds and 13 white stars.
FLAG OF AMERICA
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution ordered that the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white, and 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation. Today, the flag consists of 13 horizontal stripes, seven red alternating with six white. The stripes represent the original 13 colonies and the stars represent the 50 states of the Union. The colours of the flag are symbolic as well. Red symbolises hardiness and valour, white symbolises purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice.
Did You Know:
- Amateur poet Francis Scott Key was so inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Baltimore's Fort McHenry after a British bombardment that he wrote the 'Star-Spangled Banner' on September 14, 1814. This officially became the USA's national anthem in 1931.
- In July 1969, the American flag was flown in space when Neil Armstrong placed it on the moon.
- The first time the American flag was flown overseas on a foreign fort was in Libya, over Fort Derne, on the shores of Tripoli in 1805.