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History of the 4th of July: John Adams

John Adams

HISTORY OF THE 4TH OF JULY: JOHN ADAMS Before John Adams became the first Vice President of the United States under George Washington, second President of the United States, the first resident of the White House, and writer of the Massachusetts State Constitution he had a role during the Revolutionary War period as one of the…

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History of the 4th of July: Thomas Jefferson

HISTORY OF THE 4th OF JULY: THOMAS JEFFERSON Perhaps no one person is more associated with the 4th of July in American History than Thomas Jefferson, probably because it was his hand that penned the immortal Declaration of Independence. As my friend Clay Jenkinson — who has been portraying Jefferson for over 20 years —…

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History of Juneteenth: Emancipation Proclamation

Juneteenth

JUNETEENTH June Nineteenth, or Juneteenth, marks the celebration of the emancipation of African-American slaves in 1865. While the annual celebration started in Texas in 1866 — and became an official Texas state holiday there in 1980 — this formerly obscure holiday it is now observed across the United States, and around the world, and is…

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History of Father’s Day: the Beginning

Fathers Day

HISTORY OF FATHERS DAY [NOTE: I wrote a longer and more serious version of this article for CBS.com a couple of years ago. It has been published on their network of sites for major cities around the country. You can find an example here.] Origin The celebration of Father’s Day goes back all the way…

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History of Flag Day

HISTORY OF FLAG DAY June 14 is the day the United States celebrates Flag Day. While it may not be as widely celebrated as other American holidays, it is one of the oldest. It was resolved by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, even before the conclusion of the American War of Independence, the Revolutionary…

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History of Memorial Day: Which War?

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: WHICH WAR? Memorial Day was not universally recognized as a shared American Holiday until after World War I. But that’s not how it started in the United States. When did it begin? Civil War Following the American Civil War or the “War Between the States,” as it was known in the…

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History of the Civil War: When was the First Shot?

HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR 158 years ago, on April 12, 1861, the first formal hostilities of the American Civil War occurred when Confederate troops attacked the military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The Fort, located in Charleston harbor was a coastal fortification built after the War of 1812 as part of the…

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History of Presidents Day: More than just Washington and Lincoln?

HISTORY OF PRESIDENTS’ DAY During my lifetime, two American holidays got consolidated into one. In 1971, a day between both Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12 and Washington’s Birthday on February 22 became a single holiday, Presidents Day — alternately spelled President’s Day or Presidents’ Day — to be observed on the third Monday in February,…

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