Americans have enjoyed celebrating Independence Day with fireworks for so long now that one seldom stops to give the matter any thought.
That being the case, it’s fair to assume that many people are unaware of the history behind the simple act of shooting off fireworks in conjunction with the Fourth of July.
It turns out that we probably owe the tradition, at least in large part, to John Adams.
Even prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence Adams dreamed of a large scale celebration “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time foreward forever more” [taken from a letter to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776].
Commemorative Independence Day fireworks were first set off on July 4, 1777.
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