Fourth of July celebrations past and present: Two hundred forty-one years and still going

Yahoo News Photo Staff

A few days ago, a Capitol Visitor Center tour guide pointed visitors to John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence,” the painting in the Capitol Rotunda that depicts the moment that famous document was presented to the Second Continental Congress. The declaration was signed July 4, 1776, and the day has been celebrated ever since. Click through to view photos of Independence Day events throughout the years.

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<p>A Capitol Visitor Center tour guide points up in front of John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence” painting in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., on June 28, 2017. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images) </p>
Washington, D.C., 2017

A Capitol Visitor Center tour guide points up in front of John Trumbull’s “Declaration of Independence” painting in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C., on June 28, 2017. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

<p>A Fourth of July portrait of a family atop a cart drawn by cows, Chillicothe, Ill., circa 1910. (Photo: Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images) </p>
Chillicothe, Ill., circa 1910

A Fourth of July portrait of a family atop a cart drawn by cows, Chillicothe, Ill., circa 1910. (Photo: Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

<p>4th July Parade, 1911, N.Y. (Bain Collection/Library of Congress) </p>
New York, 1911

4th July Parade, 1911, N.Y. (Bain Collection/Library of Congress)

<p>July 4th parade, Nome Alaska, 1915. (Photo: Carpenter Collection/Library of Congress) </p>
Nome Alaska, 1915

July 4th parade, Nome Alaska, 1915. (Photo: Carpenter Collection/Library of Congress)

<p>Indians in New York during a July 4th parade, ca. 1910 – 1915. (Photo: Bain Collection/Library of Congress) </p>
New York, ca. 1910 -1915

Indians in New York during a July 4th parade, ca. 1910 – 1915. (Photo: Bain Collection/Library of Congress)

<p>Takoma Park, Md., July 4th celebration, 1922. (Photo: Library of Congress) </p>
Takoma Park, Md., 1922

Takoma Park, Md., July 4th celebration, 1922. (Photo: Library of Congress)

<p>Beauty contest winners during July 4th celebrations in Salisbury, Md., 1940. (Photo: Jack Delano/Library of Congress) </p>
Salisbury, Md., 1940

Beauty contest winners during July 4th celebrations in Salisbury, Md., 1940. (Photo: Jack Delano/Library of Congress)

<p>Watching the Fourth of July Parade, Watertown, Wis., 1941. (Photo: John Vachon, Library of Congress) </p>
Watertown, Wis., 1941

Watching the Fourth of July Parade, Watertown, Wis., 1941. (Photo: John Vachon, Library of Congress)

<p>Fourth of July Parade during World War II in New Rochelle, N.Y., 1943. (Photo by Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images) </p>
New Rochelle, N.Y., 1943

Fourth of July Parade during World War II in New Rochelle, N.Y., 1943. (Photo by Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images)

<p>The Queen of Candles and her maids light sparklers before leading the coronation procession, part of the celebrations for the fourth of July, circa 1955. (Photo: Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images) </p>
Queen of Candles, 1955

The Queen of Candles and her maids light sparklers before leading the coronation procession, part of the celebrations for the fourth of July, circa 1955. (Photo: Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images)

<p>About 75 Klansmen and women in robes protest the civil rights bill as they parade through the streets of St. Augustine, Fla., July 4, 1964. (Photo: Bill Hudson/AP) </p>
St. Augustine, Fla., 1964

About 75 Klansmen and women in robes protest the civil rights bill as they parade through the streets of St. Augustine, Fla., July 4, 1964. (Photo: Bill Hudson/AP)

<p>People sit at a parade in Wakefield, Mass. on July 4, 1970. (Photo: Jack Sheahan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) </p>
Wakefield, Mass., 1970

People sit at a parade in Wakefield, Mass. on July 4, 1970. (Photo: Jack Sheahan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

<p>Two boys wave in front of a crowd celebrating the nation’s bicentennial in front of the National Archive in Washington, D.C., July 4, 1976. (Photo: AP) </p>
Washington, D.C., 1976

Two boys wave in front of a crowd celebrating the nation’s bicentennial in front of the National Archive in Washington, D.C., July 4, 1976. (Photo: AP)

<p>James Rhoads of the National Archives prepares to cut a Bicentennial birthday cake in Washington, D.C., Sunday, July 4, 1976 as thousands look on. Standing next to Rhoads is actor Glenn Taylor, dressed in colonial costumes, who read the Declaration of Independence during the ceremony. (Photo: AP) </p>
Washington, D.C., 1976

James Rhoads of the National Archives prepares to cut a Bicentennial birthday cake in Washington, D.C., Sunday, July 4, 1976 as thousands look on. Standing next to Rhoads is actor Glenn Taylor, dressed in colonial costumes, who read the Declaration of Independence during the ceremony. (Photo: AP)

<p>Two boys riding on the roof of a car in the Fourth of July Parade, hold a sign that reads: “Our generation is drug free,” on Michigan Avenue near Adams Street, Chicago, Ill., 1988. (Photo: David Dapogny/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images) </p>
Chicago, Ill., 1988

Two boys riding on the roof of a car in the Fourth of July Parade, hold a sign that reads: “Our generation is drug free,” on Michigan Avenue near Adams Street, Chicago, Ill., 1988. (Photo: David Dapogny/Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

<p>Five-year-old Sean Kennedy in the annual Fourth of July Parade bicycles through the streets of Mashnee, Mass., 1995. (Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) </p>
Mashnee, Mass., 1995

Five-year-old Sean Kennedy in the annual Fourth of July Parade bicycles through the streets of Mashnee, Mass., 1995. (Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

<p>––Motorcycle stunts are performed by a precision drill team during the 92nd annual Huntington Beach 4th of July Parade in Calif., 1996. (Photo: Bob Grieser/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) </p>
Huntington Beach, Calif., 1996

––Motorcycle stunts are performed by a precision drill team during the 92nd annual Huntington Beach 4th of July Parade in Calif., 1996. (Photo: Bob Grieser/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

<p>Nyoman Budiartha of Decatur, Ga., holds an American flag and an Indonesian flag as his cools off in a water spray after running the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Ga., Saturday, morning, July 4, 1998. (Photo: John Bazemore/AP) </p>
Atlanta, Ga., 1998

Nyoman Budiartha of Decatur, Ga., holds an American flag and an Indonesian flag as his cools off in a water spray after running the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Ga., Saturday, morning, July 4, 1998. (Photo: John Bazemore/AP)

<p>Kevin Doughtie, right, leads the 1st United States Infantry Regiment reenactment group as they march with a battle-worn 19th century flag, July 4, 2000 during the Fourth of July Parade in Arlington, Texas. (Photo: Tom Fox/Arlington Morning News/Getty Images) </p>
Arlington, Texas, 2000

Kevin Doughtie, right, leads the 1st United States Infantry Regiment reenactment group as they march with a battle-worn 19th century flag, July 4, 2000 during the Fourth of July Parade in Arlington, Texas. (Photo: Tom Fox/Arlington Morning News/Getty Images)

<p>Mexican-Americans participate in the July 4th Parade in Ojai, Calif., 2002. (Photo: Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images) </p>
Ojai, Calif., 2002

Mexican-Americans participate in the July 4th Parade in Ojai, Calif., 2002. (Photo: Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images)

<p>Hoop-mobile rider Keith Dufrane dons patriotic clothing during the DooDah Parade in Columbus, Ohio, Sunday, July 4, 2004. (Photo: Columbus Dispatch, Mike Elicson/AP) </p>
Columbus, Ohio, 2004

Hoop-mobile rider Keith Dufrane dons patriotic clothing during the DooDah Parade in Columbus, Ohio, Sunday, July 4, 2004. (Photo: Columbus Dispatch, Mike Elicson/AP)

<p>U.S. Marines, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, have a special lunch to celebrate the Fourth of July at a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan, Friday, July 4, 2008. (Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP) </p>
Southern Afghanistan, 2008

U.S. Marines, from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, have a special lunch to celebrate the Fourth of July at a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan, Friday, July 4, 2008. (Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP)

<p>Dancers from The Celtic Rythm School of Dance perform on a float during the Fourth of July Parade in Purcellville, Va., 2008. (Photo: Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images) </p>
Purcellville, Va., 2008

Dancers from The Celtic Rythm School of Dance perform on a float during the Fourth of July Parade in Purcellville, Va., 2008. (Photo: Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

<p>President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the White House on July 4, 2009 in Washington. (Photo: Pete Souza/The WHite House via Getty Images) </p>
Washington, D.C., 2009

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch the fireworks over the National Mall from the White House on July 4, 2009 in Washington. (Photo: Pete Souza/The WHite House via Getty Images)

<p>Period interpreters lead the citizen’s parade during an Independence Day celebration at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site near Petersburg, Ill., Sunday, July 4, 2010. Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site is a reconstruction of the 1830s log village where Abraham Lincoln spent six years of his life. (Photo: Seth Perlman/AP) </p>
Petersburg, Ill., 2010

Period interpreters lead the citizen’s parade during an Independence Day celebration at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site near Petersburg, Ill., Sunday, July 4, 2010. Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site is a reconstruction of the 1830s log village where Abraham Lincoln spent six years of his life. (Photo: Seth Perlman/AP)

<p>Members of the Native Sons of the Golden West carry a large American flag during the annual Fourth of July Parade Wednesday, July 4, 2012 in Sausalito, Calif. The group was founded in 1875 and has preserved many of the landmarks of California’s pioneer days, purchasing and rehabilitating them and then donating them to the State or local governments. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP) </p>
Sausalito, Calif., 2012

Members of the Native Sons of the Golden West carry a large American flag during the annual Fourth of July Parade Wednesday, July 4, 2012 in Sausalito, Calif. The group was founded in 1875 and has preserved many of the landmarks of California’s pioneer days, purchasing and rehabilitating them and then donating them to the State or local governments. (Photo: Eric Risberg/AP)

<p>Alexander Depuy, 5, holds an inflatable toy gun at the 19th annual Liberty Festival on July 4, 2012 in Liberty, N.Y. Communities around the country celebrated Independence Day with parades, summer activites and shows of patriotism. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images) </p>
Liberty, N.Y., 2012

Alexander Depuy, 5, holds an inflatable toy gun at the 19th annual Liberty Festival on July 4, 2012 in Liberty, N.Y. Communities around the country celebrated Independence Day with parades, summer activites and shows of patriotism. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

<p>Scott Webb, of Waldorf, Md., celebrates during the finale of the Boston Pops Fourth of July Concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston, Mass., Thursday, July 4, 2013. (Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP) </p>
Boston, Mass., 2013

Scott Webb, of Waldorf, Md., celebrates during the finale of the Boston Pops Fourth of July Concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston, Mass., Thursday, July 4, 2013. (Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP)

<p>People wave flags as the Independence Day parade rolls down Main Street, Friday, July 4, 2014, in Eagar, Ariz. The Northern Arizona town celebrates the Fourth of July annually with a parade and fireworks. (Photo: Matt York/AP) </p>
Eagar, Ariz., 2014

People wave flags as the Independence Day parade rolls down Main Street, Friday, July 4, 2014, in Eagar, Ariz. The Northern Arizona town celebrates the Fourth of July annually with a parade and fireworks. (Photo: Matt York/AP)

<p>People hang from the Sky Flyer ride at the State Fair Meadowlands during a Fourth of July fireworks display, Friday, July 3, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Photo: Julio Cortez/AP) </p>
East Rutherford, N.J., 2015

People hang from the Sky Flyer ride at the State Fair Meadowlands during a Fourth of July fireworks display, Friday, July 3, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Photo: Julio Cortez/AP)

<p>Hala Alhallaq of Iraq takes the Oath of Citizenship as she and 145 others become United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass., July 4, 2016. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters) </p>
Sturbridge, Mass., 2016

Hala Alhallaq of Iraq takes the Oath of Citizenship as she and 145 others become United States citizens during a naturalization ceremony at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Mass., July 4, 2016. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

<p>People watch fireworks during the 4th of July Independence Day celebrations at the National Mall in Washington, July 4, 2016. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters) </p>
Washington, D.C., 2016

People watch fireworks during the 4th of July Independence Day celebrations at the National Mall in Washington, July 4, 2016. (Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters)

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