By Corey Sandler
We take Independence Day seriously here in Boston.
After all, many of the most important early moments of the rebellion against King George began here.
The Boston Massacre, in which a British soldier fired into a crowd of several hundred protestors, killing five on March 5, 1770. (Referred to by the British as “The Incident on King Street.”)
The Boston Tea Party, the dumping of chests of tea from ships into the harbor to protest a British tax on that essential import, on December 16, 1773 at Griffin’s Wharf.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, north of Boston.
And the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, which was a costly victory by the British against colonists in Charlestown on the north side of the harbor in Boston.
None of these events, you will note, occurred on July 4. (And I’d wager that many Americans would fail a basic history quiz on the meaning of the holiday, but I digress.)
The war between the 13 American colonies and Great Britain had been underway for more than a year before the Fourth of July in 1776.
The military occupation of Boston had actually ended in March of 1776 after the rebels had harassed the British with a combination of conventional battles and guerilla warfare. In March, about 1,100 Boston Loyalists departed by ship: some to Nova Scotia or the West Indies and some back to England. The departure of the loyalists nearly emptied Boston’s North End, a Tory stronghold notwithstanding the fact that it was the home of Paul Revere and other important rebels.
On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia. Actually, independence was declared on July 2, but the resolution that was passed on July 4 was an explanation of the reasons for the act.
The preamble says:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Recently, it seems as if it has been downhill since then. But I digress again.
So here in Boston, July 4 is a big thing. After two years of the pandemic, things are almost as they were in the Before Times. The party began on July 1, and continued until deep into the night of July 4.
For more than three decades, we lived at sea level on an island south of the Massachusetts coast and our celebration was on the beach, low-key and low-level.
But just before the pandemic arrived, we packed up and moved on up to Boston and up 400 feet in the air to an aerie with views of the harbor on one side and the River Charles on the other. Our Independence Day was spectacular, high-key and high-level.
Here’s some of what we saw.
Boston Harborfest July 2, 2022
Boston Harborfest 2022. Fireworks over the harbor. Photo by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular July 4, 2022
All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to obtain or use an image, please contact me.