How Do US Presidents Spend the Fourth of July?

03 July 2023

Americans celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July. American presidents have their own ways of celebrating the holiday, too, with or without the public.

Many presidents have gone to the beach, the mountains, farms, or golf courses for the national holiday. During the Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt even went sailing to Hawaii on a fishing and working vacation.

July 4 has also been a day for some presidents to be at the center of the celebration with the public.

FILE - Attendees listen as President Joe Biden speaks during an Independence Day celebration on July 4, 2021. (AP Photo)
FILE - Attendees listen as President Joe Biden speaks during an Independence Day celebration on July 4, 2021. (AP Photo)

This year, U.S. President Joe Biden plans to invite members of the military, veterans and their families to the White House for an outdoor cookout and holiday celebration.

Two years earlier, Biden told a crowd at the White House that "we're closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus." It was the first large event for Biden who took office during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2017, President Donald Trump played golf and then celebrated with military families at the White House.

President Barrack Obama combined two Fourth of July traditions: celebrating American troops and honoring new citizens in 2012. Like several presidents before him, President George W. Bush welcomed more than 70 new citizens from 30 countries at a White House ceremony in 2008.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan used the holiday as a chance to talk about his economic program in a holiday radio message.

As the United States turned 200 years old in 1976, President Gerald Ford spoke at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the nation's founders approved the Declaration of Independence. Later, he watched a show of tall sailing ships in New York Harbor.

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson spoke in San Antonio, Texas, about the lack of independence for the poor, minorities, the ill, people "who must breathe polluted air" and those who live in fear of crime, on the Fourth of July.

For President Dwight Eisenhower, it was time for golf and more golf in 1953 and 1957.

With World War II ending the year before, President Harry Truman enjoyed the 1946 holiday in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, now known as Camp David.

In 1930, President Herbert Hoover spent time by the Rapidan River in the state of Virginia. And in 1928, President Calvin Coolidge, who was born on July 4th, 1872, went trout fishing in Wisconsin.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln used the holiday to ask Congress for more troops to fight the South in 1861.

In 1850, President Zachary Taylor became ill after eating and drinking on the holiday. He died five days later.

President James Monroe, who was the nation's fifth president, died on July 4, 1831, in New York City at age 73.

In addition to Monroe, two other former presidents died on Independence Day.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who had been political enemies but friends in later, private life, both died on the Fourth of July 1826, hours apart.

I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.

Calvin Woodward reported this story for the Associated Press. Hai Do adapted this report for VOA Learning English.