Independence Day: A Military Perspective on the Nation’s

Independence Day: A Military Perspective on the Nation’s Birthday


USBA celebrates Independence Day- Kids with American flags

When the 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain, the first public reading of this hallowed document in Philadelphia’s State House Yard initiated the ringing of city bells all through the night. The first official celebrations held one year after the signing on July 4, 1777, included a 13-gun salute honoring the 13 colonies, a military band performance, more bells, and the lighting of 13 firework rockets. That same night, the Sons of Liberty in Boston also set off fireworks in celebration.

How–and Why–We Celebrate 
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

A bold statement for a bold new country, the Declaration of Independence has become one of the most famous and influential documents in the world. Today, many Americans celebrate the anniversary of its signing with picnics and cookouts, lake trips and pool parties, patriotic parades, and great pride. Others take the day to reflect on their freedoms and remember those who have sacrificed for those liberties. Naturally, the holiday holds special significance for service members, the protectors of the very freedoms we celebrate. To you, we say thank you. May your hotdogs be perfectly grilled, may your fireworks be dazzling, and may these inspiring quotes from military and other leaders bring even deeper meaning to your Independence Day celebrations.

Where Liberty Dwells, There is My Country
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
— Elmer Davis, American news reporter, author, and Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II 

“May we never forget our fallen comrades. Freedom isn’t free.”
— Sgt. Maj. Bill Paxton

Such sentiments remind us that the freedoms we hold dear are not the result of chance but the fruit of vigilance and valor. They echo the truth that liberty is both a gift and a responsibility, requiring perpetual stewardship.

Military Base Celebrations Across the Country
Many military bases host celebrations to commemorate Independence Day and honor those who serve there. See what just a few of our country’s many military bases have in store this Independence Day.*

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, 4th of July Celebration (July 4): National recording artist Sugar Ray headlines, along with musical guests Vertical Horizon and the 2D Marine Division Band, plus food and fireworks

Fort Bliss, Texas, Pop Goes the Fort (July 4): Live entertainment, including performances by the 1st Armored Division Band and the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, food trucks, glow merch, and fireworks

Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Fourth of July Fest (July 4): An explosive lineup includes musical guests Ludacris and Echosmith, plus carnival fun and dazzling fireworks

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Fourth of July Celebration (July 4): Enjoy delicious food and beverages, kids’ activities, music, Salute to the Union, and spectacular fireworks

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, 4th of July Celebration (July 4): Two locations feature a variety of events, like multiple musical performances including the Air Force Band of the Pacific, food, car show, petting zoo, balloon twisting, glitter tattoos, free kids’ activities including water balloon arena, giveaways, and, of course, fireworks

Quantico Marine Base, Virginia, 4th of July Fireworks (July 4): Concessions, carnival rides, live band and DJ, and fireworks show

*Please note some events are not open to the public and may be limited to local military personnel and their guests.

As we reflect on these celebrations, may we strive to nurture the spirit of liberty, courage, and sacrifice that defines us. Let this Independence Day be a reminder of the enduring values upon which our great nation was founded and the ongoing duty we all share to uphold them.

Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA) is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.

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