Independence Day is an important day in the United States.

In 1776, the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies were no longer a part of the British Empire and would be recognized as a new nation — thus asserting independence from British rule. This action led to the creation of the U.S. Constitution over a decade later.

But for years, the rights our independent nation promised only applied to certain people.

Black Americans, women, immigrants, people with disabilities, and many other communities didn't get to experience the same freedoms. Instead, to varying degrees, they experienced persecution.

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In the eyes of many Americans, the Fourth of July is a day for parades, barbecue and, of course, fireworks.

But why is it that we celebrate Independence Day with explosives?

The tradition got its start at the beginning of our nation's history after the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia to write and sign the Declaration of Independence.

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While on vacation for the Fourth of July, late-night host Stephen Colbert invited his followers to share their "brush with #AmericanGreatness."

"American greatness" was never defined, but Colbert shared his visit to the home of renowned poet and writer Carl Sandburg in North Carolina to kick things off.

From sea to shining sea, thousands of fans replied to Colbert, sharing their holiday plans and examples of American greatness.

Users shared all kinds of landmarks, food, photos of their loved ones, natural wonders, and more worth celebrating on America's birthday. Here are just some of the tweets from the awe-inspiring list.

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