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Fourth of July 

When: Sat., July 4 2015

Shortly after the British learned of the Declaration of Independence, commander-in-chief Lord William Howe wrote Benjamin Franklin, offering peace and pardons. "It is impossible we should think of Submission to a Government," Franklin responded on July 21, 1776, "that has with the most wanton Barbarity and Cruelty, burnt our defenceless Towns in the midst of Winter, excited the Savages to massacre our Farmers, and our Slaves to murder their Masters, and is even now bringing foreign Mercenaries to deluge our Settlements with Blood. These atrocious Injuries have extinguished every remaining Spark of Affection for that Parent Country we once held so dear ..." Five years later, Massachusetts' state legislature became the first to officially recognize Independence Day, and it's been "U-S-A, U-S-A" ever since. Find ways to celebrate here. — Bryce Crawford

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