PHILADELPHIA, PA (Michigan News Source) – The Fourth of July in 1777 marked the first unofficial celebration of American independence, the one- year anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

With the ink still drying on the Declaration of Independence and the echoes of revolution reverberating through the colonies, the people of the newly formed United States of America found unique and spirited ways to celebrate their newfound freedom.

A nation rejoices.

MORE NEWS: Gov. Whitmer on Trump Shooting: ‘No Place for Political Violence’

In Philadelphia, where the Declaration had been signed just a year prior, the festivities were grand. The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported that the day began with a grand display of patriotism. Bells rang out from churches and public buildings, filling the air with a joyful clamor. The city was decorated with the red, white, and blue, and the stars and stripes fluttered proudly in the summer breeze.

Their July 5th report read, “Yesterday the 4th of July, being the anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America, was celebrated in this city with demonstrations of joy and festivity. About noon all the armed ships and gallies in the river were drawn up before the city, dressed in the gayest manner, with the colors of the United States and streamers displayed. At one o’clock, the yards being properly manned, they began the celebration of the day by a discharge of thirteen cannon from each of the ships, and one from each of the thirteen gallies, in honor of the Thirteen United States…The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.”

Fireworks and festivities.

Those early fireworks were not the elaborate displays we see now, but they were impressive for the time, casting vibrant hues across the city and drawing gasps of wonder from the onlookers. Bonfires blazed in the streets, illuminating the faces of jubilant citizens who had gathered to revel in the celebrations.

Toasts and tributes.

Public houses and taverns overflowed with patrons raising glasses to independence. Toasts were made to General George Washington and the Continental Army, whose courage and determination had brought the colonies to this point.

Speeches were given by local leaders, expressing hope and optimism for the future of the young nation. It was a time of unity and celebration, with citizens from all walks of life coming together to honor the momentous occasion. Some even celebrated the day with mock funerals for King George III.

The Navy’s salute.

In Boston, the celebrations took to the waters. The Continental Navy, which had played a crucial role in the fight for independence, joined in the festivities. Ships were anchored in the harbor, their masts adorned with flags. Cannons were fired in a grand salute, the booms echoing across the water and serving as a powerful reminder of the struggle that had led to this day.

Small towns, big spirit.

MORE NEWS: BREAKING: Possible Shots Fired at President Trump at PA Rally

Even in the smaller towns and rural areas, where resources were more limited, the spirit of independence was just as strong. Communities gathered for picnics and barbecues, sharing food and stories. Children played games, their laughter mingling with the patriotic songs sung by their elders. These gatherings were simple but heartfelt, a testament to the resilience and determination of the American spirit.

Reflections and resolutions.

The first Fourth of July after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence was not just a day of celebration; it was also a time for reflection. Many took a moment to remember the sacrifices that had been made and the challenges that lay ahead. The war for independence was far from over, and the future was uncertain. But on this day, there was a sense of hope and possibility. The citizens of the fledgling nation resolved to move forward with courage and conviction, determined to build a country based on the principles of liberty and justice for all.

A tradition Is born.

The events of those first Fourth of July celebrations set the stage for a tradition that would grow and evolve over the centuries. From parades and fireworks to barbecues and family gatherings, the ways in which Americans celebrate their independence have become as diverse as the nation itself. But at the heart of it all remains a sense of pride and gratitude for the freedoms that were hard-won and are fiercely defended to this day.