Celebrate 248 Years of America's Independence at Nine Battlefields and Historic Sites

In honor of our nation's founding, the American Battlefield Trust suggests the following events and opportunities to remember and memorialize our independence

Colleen Cheslak-Poulton, (202) 367-1861 x7234

(Washington, D.C.) — On a hot July day in 1776, delegates from 13 colonies unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence. Drafted primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration proclaimed certain unalienable rights for residents of the thirteen colonies. These rights remain the foundation of American freedoms today. Two years shy of the 250th anniversary of this bold declaration, the Trust recommends these nine events at battlefields and historic sites across the country to celebrate this historic holiday. For more events, explore calendars maintained by the National Park Service or museums and parks near you. 

July 1-3: Gettysburg’s 161st Anniversary, Gettysburg, Pa. 
Before Independence Day, join the Gettysburg National Military Park for the 161st anniversary of the historic battle that turned the tide of the Civil War. Experience immersive battlefield walks, special hikes, cemetery tours, family programs and more. Learn more.  

July 4: Sing the Star-Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Md. 
Celebrate Independence Day at the historic site where our national anthem was written! Join Fort McHenry for special programming, including the raising of the Star-Spangled Banner and learn about the fort’s significance in the Battle of Baltimore and its role in securing patriots’ freedom. Learn more. 

Raising of the Star-Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry
Raising the Star-Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry

July 4: Celebrate Independence Day at Castle Clinton, New York, N.Y. 
Constructed in 1812 to defend the United States and its ideals of freedom, Castle Clinton National Monument now celebrates American liberty sitting on the southern end of Manhattan Island. Join Castle Clinton National Monument for programming, featuring the raising of the Star-Spangled Banner and ranger-led tours. Learn more. 

July 4: Festivities at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, Va. 
This Independence Day, celebrate America’s freedom at the historic home of our first president, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The patriotic festivities will include daytime fireworks, a naturalization ceremony for new United States citizens and an assortment of concessions. Learn more. 

July 4: Reading of the Declaration of Independence, Morristown, N.J. 
Join Morristown National Historic Park in honoring the Fourth of July. On the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s army camped at Morristown, New Jersey, continuing their fight for independence from Great Britain. Programming will include a live reading of the Declaration of Independence and a park ranger-led performance. Learn more. 

July 4: Frederick Douglass Historic Site: What to a Slave is the Fourth of July, Washington, D.C. 
Reflect this Independence Day on America’s complex journey towards its ideals at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in our nation's capital. Programming will include a live reading of Douglass’ “What to a Slave is the Fourth of July?” followed by tours of the site and musical performances. Learn more. 

July 4: Fort Scott Independence Day Celebration, Fort Scott, Kan. 
Celebrate Independence Day at the Fort Scott National Historic Site amidst the echoes of cannon fire. Enjoy artillery demonstrations, ranger-guided fort tours, lectures and conclude the day with a 21-gun salute honoring the brave defenders of our nation’s freedom. Learn more. 

July 4: Celebrate American Independence at the “Fort That Saved America,” Philadelphia, Pa. 
Join Fort Mifflin on the Delaware to celebrate the holiday at the oldest fort currently in use in the United States. While this historic Revolutionary War fort was decommissioned in 1962, the Army Corps of Engineers still actively utilizes it. Programming includes guided tours, reenactments, family-friendly games, and more. Learn more. 

July 4: Public Reading of the Declaration of Independence, Stillwater, N.Y. 
Experience a reading of the Declaration of Independence at Saratoga National Historical Park, the site of one of the most decisive American victories of the Revolutionary War.   Learn more. 

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 58,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War across 155 sites in 25 states. Learn more at