July 4, 2013

What's more American than... Philadelphia

Today is Independence Day in the United States—better known simply as the Fourth of July. Amidst the parades, cookouts, and fireworks, it’s a day for cherishing the freedoms we enjoy, and remembering the cost of those freedoms.

The spirit of American independence remains alive and well 237 years later in the historic district of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where so much of the Revolutionary groundwork was laid. My husband and I took his parents there in July 2009 to see the USS New Jersey, which my father-in-law served on in World War II. Layers upon layers of history intertwine in those streets. In honor of the of Fourth of July, I thought I’d share a few of my pictures of the historic sights with you.

Independence Hall Philadelphia
Independence Hall

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually written or signed on July 4th? The Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain on July 2nd, and the document we now know as the Declaration wasn’t signed until August 2nd. But the wording of it was approved on July 4th—hence our holiday. (1) You can see an image and read a transcript of it on the National Archives’ site, The Charters of Freedom.

The Liberty Bell, with its iconic crack
The Betsy Ross house
A replica of the original Stars & Stripes

Hope you have an enjoyable Fourth of July, wherever this finds you. Happy birthday, America!

(1) “Did You Know…Independence Day Should Actually Be July 2?,” National Archives and Records Administration, press release, 1 June 2005 ( : accessed 3 July 2013).

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  1. ...and a belated Happy Second of July to you, too, Shelley! Isn't it fascinating how history winds its way around the facts to turn up, centuries later, the way it does?!

    1. Yes, it sure is, Jacqi. To me, it's the little details and stories that make history fun--which is a lot like genealogy, when you think about it!

  2. Such gorgeous photographs, Shelley! I was in Philadelphia very briefly and, unfortunately, with someone who was not interested in history. I hope to return one of these years to see some of the places that played such an important part in the founding of the United States. One of our favorite places to visit is Colonial Williamsburg - a bridged between pre-United States and United States history. Thanks for sharing your photos.

    1. Thanks, Nancy! I agree, Colonial WIlliamsburg is a great place to "feel" the history of early America. It's a fun place for kids, too. We went there many years ago, and I haven't yet digitized those pictures. One day...


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