Americans take pride in their country and celebrate the principles inherent in the Declaration of Independence and those who fought in the Revolutionary War through parades, flag-waving ceremonies, fireworks, music, speeches and reenactments - all rituals that had their antecedents in the nation's formation on July 4, 1776, with the adoption of that famous document. To a backdrop of banners flying, bells ringing and friendly ships firing 13-cannon salutes from each of the vessels in the harbor, the nation's dignitaries sat down to a dinner highlighted with "suitable" musical accompaniment - played by Hessian musicians who had been captured the previous December at Trenton by General George Washington's troops, according to an article in the Virginia Gazette (dated 18 July 1777).
When in the Course of Human Events It Became Necessary to Celebrate July 4th James R Heintze Phi Kappa Phi Forum; Summer 2009; 89, 2; Docstoc pg. 4
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