July 4 is approaching, and many of us have plans to celebrate America’s birthday by attending cookouts during the day and watching fireworks at night.
The presidents of our country typically spend July 4 delivering speeches to honor America, acknowledging our troops and veterans, or taking some time to spend with their families. Some presidents have attended parades or scheduled meetings with world leaders.
Unfortunately, three of our nation’s first five presidents died on July 4. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died in 1826, and James Monroe, the country’s fifth president, died on July 4, 1831.
This will be the first year Donald Trump celebrates America’s birthday as president of the United States, and it is unclear what he will be doing on the nation’s special day.
As we get ready for America’s holiday, here’s a look back at some of the ways our past 10 presidents have spent the Fourth of July.
How past presidents celebrated the Fourth of July
In 2016, Barack Obama's final July 4 celebration as president, the Obamas canceled their outdoor festivities due to rain but held a special event in the East Room of the White House, which included performances by Janelle Monáe and Kendrick Lamar. July 4 is also his daughter Malia’s birthday.
George W. Bush
In 2006, President George W. Bush spent July 4 thanking members of the military at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The troops presented him with a birthday cake in honor of his 60th birthday, which is on July 6.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton and his family spent July 4 in New York City to review different naval ships from around the world during the International Naval Review 2000.
George H. W. Bush
In 1992, George H. W. Bush delivered a speech praising the Gulf War. Earlier that day, he signaled the start of the Pepsi 400 race at the Daytona International Speedway.
In 1981, President Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan spent time at the White House during the July 4th Independence Day Picnic on the South Lawn. The president was recovering from an assassination attempt that occurred on March 30 of that year.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter attended a town hall meeting at Merced College in California. He later flew to Miami Beach, Florida, to deliver a political speech at the NAACP’s 71st annual convention. At the White House, his administration held the annual picnic on the South Lawn.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford finished a long and busy day at the White House in time to view fireworks with his wife. Earlier that day, he made a trip to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to give a speech and sign legislation to change the ownership of Valley Forge Park from the state of Pennsylvania to the National Park Service.
In 1969, President Richard Nixon spent the July 4th holiday in Key Biscayne, Florida. That evening, members of the White House watched a fireworks display.
Lyndon B. Johnson
In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird attended the christening of their grandson Patrick in Stonewall, Texas.
John F. Kennedy
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy spent time with his family in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.