image description

Holiday Hours: Independence Day

Print Story | Email Story

 
Above, the famous John Trumbull painting depicting the presentation of the Declaration to John Hancock. John Adams is standing on the right of the Committee of Five. Right, the Bill of Rights currently on display at Williams College.

Independence Day will be celebrated Thursday, July 4. It is a federal holiday marking the ratification of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Representatives from 13 original colonies, of which Massachusetts was a leader, actually voted on July 2 at the Second Continental Congress to declare their independence from Great Britain. The Declaration formalizing the decision — and giving the reasons for doing so — was written by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as the principal author. The others were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert Livingston of New York.

Adams, author of the Massachusetts Constitution, would write to his wife, Abigail: "The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival."

But it would be the adoption two days later that would live in the minds of his countrymen, helped by that large date inscribed at the top of the document. It would be signed the following month. One of the signers was Samuel Adams, for whom the town of Adams (and by extension, North Adams) is named.

Williams College holds one of the few original copies in existence and hosts a reading of the Declaration each Fourth of July.

Massachusetts would become the first state to recognize the day as a state celebration, in 1781. The Congress made it an unpaid holiday in 1870 and a paid federal holiday in 1938.

Both Presidents Jefferson and Adams, friends and political foes, would die on the 50th anniversary of the signing. In another bit of trivia, Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president and former governor of Massachusetts, is the only president to have been born on the Fourth of July.

Closed:


Federal, state and local offices; no mail delivery.
Banks
Public colleges and schools, most private schools
Public libraries
Most offices and businesses
BRTA is not running
Thursday trash pickup in Pittsfield delayed to Friday

 

 

Open:
Most retail outlets, groceries
Restaurants and bars, by choice
Convenience stores

Fireworks and other events listed here.
 

Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m., Thursday, July 4, through 5 a.m., Friday, July 5.  The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas. All road work will be suspended July 3 and 4.


Tags: holiday,   

2 Comments
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to info@iberkshires.com.

Holyoke Mayor Morse Challenges Neal In Congressional Race

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff

Morse is joined by a large crowd of supporters at the Unicorn Inn on Monday night.
HOLYOKE, Mass. — They said he couldn't do it.
 
There is no way a 21-year-old, turning 22, could defeat an incumbent mayor with years of political experience. And there was no way the city of Holyoke was ever going to be as good as it had been.
 
"When I ran for mayor eight years ago, people had a few things to say. They said No. 1, wait your turn. No. 2 maybe run for something else. Or No. 3, don't run at all, you are too young, too gay, too progressive, you are not going get elected here in the city of Holyoke," Alex Morse said at the Unicorn Inn on Monday night to a crowd full of supporters.
 
"And what did we do?"
View Full Story

More Pittsfield Stories