"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Standing in front of the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin's words filled the room in Philadelphia's Independence Hall. It was early 1776 and the fires of independence were burning in America.
On July 4, the Continental Congress approved the final draft of the Declaration of Independence and America was born. Celebrations began in 1777 with the ringing of town bells. Fireworks picnics and parades were added to the celebrations in the early 1800s.
On this, the 221st anniversary of the document, the traditions and celebrations continue.
Here is a look at the origin and celebration of Independence Day.
George Walton, who was born in Virginia, spent his final years in Augusta at Meadow Garden Plantation off what is now 13th Street. Nearby Walton Way is named for him. At age 26, Walton was the youngest signer. He moved to Augusta in 1790 and died in 1804.
Lyman Hall, a minister by training, was born in Connecticut and eventually moved to Georgia, where he became governor in 1783. In 1790, Hall bought Shell Bluff Plantation in Burke County, on the Savannah River about 25 miles south of Augusta. He died soon after the purchase. His grave was moved to the monument site. Button Gwinnett was born in England and originally settled in South Carolina. He moved to Savannah as a merchant and later owned St. Catherine's Island. He was killed in a duel with Gen. Lachlan McIntosh, who had reportedly publicly insulted Gwinnett. Although he is honored on the Greene Street monument, the location of his grave in Savannah has long been a mystery.
Edward Rutledge, born near Charleston, studied law in England, served as governor from 1798 until 1800, fought in Revolutionary War, was captured during siege of Charleston.
Thomas Heyward Jr. born in St. Luke's Parish, S.C., studied law in England, was a statesman, soldier and judge. Thomas Lynch Jr. , born in Winyaw, graduated from Cambridge, studied law in London, lost at sea during a trip to regain his health. Arthur Middleton, born near Charleston and educated in England, fought in Revolutionary War, was captured during siege of Charleston.
Declaration of Independence facts
Actual signing of document not completed until August.
Liberty Bell facts
1776 - The Cambridge, or Grand Union flag, preceded the Declaration of Independence and still bore the British flag of the time.
1777 - The first flag ordered by Congress on June 14 had no official arrangement of its 13 stars. Several variations were used.
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