Today is the day Americans celebrate their independence and national identity. (I beg you to excuse me this digression, as I am an American.) On July 4, 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress finalized the text of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It made official the war with Britain that had already begun and posed the Americans as a new nation declaring their independence from their colonial sovereign.
233 years later, it's important to remember why we celebrate. This video features several different people reading the text of the Declaration of Independence:
During the War of 1812, another war against Britain, Francis Scott Key, imprisoned by the British and watching the Americans fight from afar, wrote the text of a poem that would officially become the American national anthem in 1931. Here, 2 of the 4 stanzas are performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:
And, for those Americans like me who are living overseas and won't get to participate in any traditional festivities, some fireworks: