4th of July: Celebrating American Independence Safely

Celebrate our nation’s independence with Thomas J. Henry Law! 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, has only been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. The tradition however, dates back to the American Revolution of the 18th century. According to History.com, On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. This year, the day falls on Thursday, July 4. Since 1776, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence. Independence day festivities range from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

History of 4th of July

The first battles of the Revolutionary War began in April of 1775.  At the time there were a few members of the 13 colonies who desired complete independence from Great Britain. Those who did not desire independence were considered radicals. By the next year though, many more colonists began favoring independence, due to the growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in the bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published by Thomas Paine in early 1776. A motion was introduced by Richard Henry Lee, calling for the colonies’ independence. Lee’s resolution was postponed, but Congress appointed a five man committee, consisting of Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York, to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain. On July 2nd, Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution and on July 4th, Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, written mostly by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence. According to History.com, The tradition of setting off fireworks on the 4 of July began in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, during the first organized celebration of Independence Day. Ship’s cannon fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. Taking place right in the middle of summer, Fourth of July has since become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues.

Prioritizing Personal Safety

While participating in 4th of July festivals or parades, remember to keep you and your loved ones safe. Here are some essential tips to ensure a safe and fun time. 

  • Hydration and Sun Protection: Stay hydrated and shield yourself from the Texas sun. Carry a refillable water bottle and apply high SPF sunscreen. Consider wearing a hat and seeking shade when necessary.
  • Managing Crowds and Personal Space: As large crowds assemble, stay alert and maintain your personal space. Establish a meeting point with your group in case you get separated.
  • Identifying Safety Hazards: Be vigilant of potential safety hazards, such as uneven terrain or tripping hazards. Report any unsafe conditions to festival staff or security immediately. Also, avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep an eye on your personal belongings.

Alcohol and Substance Safety

It’s crucial to prioritize safety, especially with alcohol and substance consumption. Don’t get carried away at your Independence Day cookouts. 

  • Responsible Alcohol Consumption: If you choose to drink, do so responsibly, stay hydrated, and know your limits. Arrange for a designated driver or use rideshare services or public transportation.
  • Understanding Public Intoxication Laws: Public intoxication can lead to legal troubles. Be aware of the laws and avoid excessive drinking in public.
  • Recognizing Substance Abuse: If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, seek professional help. Support groups and treatment centers are available to assist.

Fireworks Safety

It is also important to be safe when handling or spectating fireworks.

  • Keep as far away from fireworks as possible when lighting them, and move away quickly after igniting them. Never lean over fireworks, and don’t put any part of your body above them.
  • Wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from sparks and debris. You can also wear gloves and shoes. If you’re watching fireworks up close, earmuffs or earplugs can help protect your hearing. Young children should wear earmuffs instead of earplugs, which can be a choking hazard.
  • Keep water or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an accident. You can also soak used fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing them away. Have a first aid kit to treat injuries like burns, cuts, or eye irritations.
  • Only use fireworks in places where it’s legal, and buy them from licensed retailers. Always have a responsible adult present.

Transportation and Parking

For a seamless and safe Independence Day experience, plan your transportation and parking in advance.

  • Parking: Arrive early to secure a parking spot near the festival grounds. 
  • Public Transportation and Rideshares: Use public transportation or rideshare services for a convenient and eco-friendly commute.
  • Safe and Responsible Driving: Follow traffic rules and regulations, keep an eye out for pedestrians, and if you plan to consume alcohol, designate a sober driver or use alternative transportation options.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one has hurt or injured due to someone else’s negligence do not wait to reach out to us. At Thomas J. Henry Law, our team of experienced personal injury attorneys has successfully represented countless individuals over the past 30 years. We are committed to helping you understand your legal options and providing you with the guidance and representation you need during this challenging time. With a team of more than 200 experienced attorneys and 350 supporting staff members in offices across San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin, Dallas Fort-Worth, and Houston, clients can rest assured that there is always someone working on their claim. Contact us to help you get the relief you need. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities.

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