Fireworks need no excuse, but have a huge cultural history. In 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting. One year after we started, we celebrated with fireworks in what would have been the National Capitol had Washington DC not been created. It's been celebrated with fireworks ever since. And the National Anthem mentions it also, though created in 1814 and not made the national anthem until 1931.