Why do we celebrate Independence Day on July 4th (instead of July 2nd)?

2:24 p.m Friday, June 30, 2017 AJC Homepage
Steve Schaefer
Spectators wave their flags as the Marietta Freedom Parade makes its way down Roswell Street on Tuesday, July 4, 2016, In Marietta, GA. An estimated 30,000 spectators turned out for the parade. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC

From Memorial Day and Labor Day to Thanksgiving, Americans have always been willing to move the dates of major holidays around to accommodate three-day weekends and Black Friday shopping blowouts.

But the country shows no such independent streak when it comes to Independence Day. The Fourth of July falls on, well, July 4th. And everything from fireworks shows to the AJC Peachtree Road Race patriotically follows suit.

But why is that? And why did the Founding Fathers -- who managed to agree on the not-so-minor issue of splitting off from England, after all  -- not initially all agree on when Independence Day should be celebrated?

Here’s the essential 411 on the Fourth:

Independence Day celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Button Gwinnett, a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, was one of three Georgians to sign the Declaration of Independence. Photo credit: Courtesy of the Georgia Historical Society.
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