July 4, Juneteenth and the Meaning of National Holidays

Federal holidays are fixtures in the American calendar, but their presence isn't only a story of continuity. They reflect how the U.S. has evolved.

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This image shows an 1876 engraving titled "Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776" made available by the Library of Congress. On that day, the Continental Congress formally endorsed the Declaration of Independence. Celebrations began within days: parades and public readings, bonfires and candles and the firing of 13 musket rounds, one for each of the original states. Nearly a century passed before the country officially named its founding a holiday. ( J. Trumbull, W.L. Ormsby via AP)
Image via AP Photo/J. Trumbull

This article was republished here with permission from The Associated Press, however it is no longer available to read on Snopes.com.

NEW YORK (AP) — On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally endorsed the Declaration of Independence. Celebrations began within days: parades and public readings, bonfires and candles and the firing of 13 musket rounds, one for each of the original states. Nearly a century passed before the country officially named its founding a holiday. With the recent passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States,…

Read at AP News