July Fourth is America’s Independence Day – a day to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The meaning of this national holiday, when the 13 original colonies announced their freedom from the British Empire, can take many different forms depending on the person in question.
For some, the tradition of barbecue, swimming and celebrations stand out brighter than the fireworks that light nighttime skylines. Yet, for others, the historical significance will never lose its weight, and the day continues to serve as a solemn reminder of the rebels who lost their lives in the hope of a free, democratic nation.
X’ene Sky Taylor, a UT-Austin student, said that the Fourth of July serves a benchmark for advances in the United States’ sociology.
“I think it is special. It’s a reminder of our history as a country and where we’ve come from, but also how far we have to go,” said Taylor.
However, Taylor said, as a descendant of a family who were previously enslaved, because the original Independence Day did not signal freedom for every American, the day could also be described as “a little bit hypocritical.”
Meanwhile, Austin resident, J.B. Headrick, said the true meaning of Independence Day is being lost on many people.
“I think for a lot of people today, history is past, so history means nothing. What’s important is what’s now,” Headrick said. “We probably need to give a little more credence to what July Fourth means in a real historic sense.”