Happy Birthday, America!

by John Riggio

Here's a simple, but very effective tune to celebrate the birth of America! Over the years, we've published quite a few patriotic tunes, most of which could be used for any of our patriotic holidays, including Independence Day. But we wanted to do one specifically for the birthday of our country, especially for those of you who might still be in school on July 4, either for summer school or year-round school. (Or dare we say, make up time for snow days?? Yikes!)

Of Independence Day, John Adams, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, wrote:

"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

Today, we certainly celebrate Independence Day with pomp, parade, and illuminations! As a side note, Adams believed that July 2 would be Independence Day because that's when the 13 colonies voted to declare their independence from Great Britain. July 4 is when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, and is why at the top of the Declaration it says "IN CONGRESS, July 4th, 1776." Apparently, July 4 won out, because that's the day we celebrate! Make sure your students sing about it with exuberance and energy.

Crafty stars and stripes - If you would like to include some craft work to correspond with your use of this (or any) patriotic song, artist Kristyn Johnson has created a simple stars and stripes coloring page and/or sun catcher (depending on difficulty preferred) for your students. A free PDF template and video tutorial can be found on our web site.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.