Falling on a Thursday this year, the Fourth of July is a federally recognized holiday filled with fun activities, including picnics, parades and fireworks.

Independence Day celebrates the Declaration of Independence’s passage by the Continental Congress in 1776. Like today, early celebrations of the newfound independence consisted of parades and toasting ceremonies.

To commemorate their revolutionary movement and their first days of independence in 1776, many towns held fake funerals for King George III, whose mock death symbolized the death of the monarchy and its hold over the colonies and the “rebirth of liberty.”

All federal employees have been able to enjoy the holiday off work since 1870 when the government declared it a federal holiday to gift their employees a well-deserved day off. This year, with the holiday landing on a Thursday, it raises the question of if federal employees will also receive Friday off to make a long weekend.

Unfortunately, no such luck will be granted to most public employees unless the president or agencies step in and say otherwise.

Federal employees can request leave to give themselves a long weekend, and in the past, some presidents have allowed employees the extra day off when federal holidays interrupt the regular workweek.

For example, when Christmas Day fell on a Tuesday, there have been several instances where presidents recognized Christmas Eve as well to let employees have an extra day to celebrate with their loved ones.

Usually, Christmas Eve is not a holiday for federal employees, but in 2019, when it fell on a Tuesday, former President Donald Trump granted public employees the day to themselves.

There are still two weeks until Independence Day, but as of right now, employees will have to expect a regular workday July 5, unless the president or their agencies declare it otherwise.

Wondering what fun activities D.C. has in store for you on the fourth?

The Fourth of July wouldn’t be complete with a fireworks display and what better place to watch than the National Mall when you’re in the area?

With the monuments and memorials as the backdrop, you can head to the viewing area near the Reflecting Pool and Washington Monument where the fireworks are set to blast off at 9:09 p.m.

Another fun activity that’s not so run of the mill is visiting the U.S. first president’s house. This year, make sure to check out Mount Vernon’s museum of George and Martha Washington’s house, a daytime fireworks display and a ceremony where people become U.S. citizens.

If these events don’t suit your fancy, make sure to check out the National Park Service’s website for interesting activities to celebrate July 4.

There are 11 federal holidays on which nonessential government employees are off work, and most government offices are closed.

The next federal holiday will be Labor Day, celebrated on Monday, Sept. 2.

Cristina Stassis is an editorial fellow for Defense News and Military Times, where she covers stories surrounding the defense industry, national security, military/veteran affairs and more. She is currently studying journalism and mass communication and international affairs at the George Washington University.

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