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Celebrating and Reflecting on the Fourth of July

Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, marks the anniversary of the United States declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776.

The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, was signed by representatives of the 13 original colonies. Historians have disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, but the holiday continues to mark that day.

There are many ways to celebrate the Fourth of July. Today, it is customary for the holiday to be celebrated with picnics, cookouts, fireworks, flags and patriotic music. At military bases, a salute of one gunshot for each of the 50 states in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired at noon.

Read reflections on favorite Fourth of July celebration memories by two members of the TeamHealth Veterans Affinity Group.

Kristi Cummings, Project Manager, Value-Based Care, said, “In June 1992, I entered the U.S. Air Force Academy as a Basic Cadet, fulfilling a dream I’d pursued since middle school. At lights-out on the Fourth of July, there was no hint of celebration. But, a few minutes later, they were yelling at us to get back up and go outside for fireworks. The only July 4 I’ve treasured more was the one I celebrated in 2002, home on U.S. soil with my family, after deploying for Operation Iraqi Freedom. My Air Force Academy class recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of our graduation, and this fall I’m thrilled to be going to our reunion. While we will, of course, toast those we’ve lost, we also have so much to celebrate. When allowing women to fly fighter jets was still controversial, one of my classmates became the first female Thunderbird pilot. Most significantly, our LGBTQIA+ classmates can now serve openly and marry their partners. I’m proud of the way America and our military are becoming more inclusive. We have a long way to go, but our democracy is worth celebrating, protecting, and continually improving.”

Bill Lipkin-Moore, Vice President, Business Development, said, “In July 1972 I first reported to San Diego for Navy Boot Camp. It was right after I celebrated the Fourth of July with family and friends. My best friend was also leaving for Army Boot Camp. It was a spirited, yet muted, celebration of our country’s birth. Our families were rightly concerned about our safety as the Vietnam War was still raging. We grilled, lit fireworks and hugged everyone we could to say goodbye. Three years later I found myself in the South China Sea. We were celebrating the birth of America and quietly, the end of one of America’s longest wars. We toasted those we lost and what a privilege it is to be an American. It’s hard to believe that next year will be 50 years since a skinny, 17-year-old boy lined up for his first buzz cut. Thanks to all who serve and celebrate as we grow as a nation to include everyone regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation!”