At one time, picnics with patriotic speeches and parades were held all over the United States on the 4th of July. They are still held in many places. It is also a day, on which fireworks displays fill the skies in the evening, and the flying of flags is common.
In 1976 the bicentennial celebrations were held across the country.
A more recent holiday has been introduced; it is Martin Luther King Day. The Rev. Dr Martin Luther King was a black clergyman who is ranked among the greatest of black Americans because of his crusade during the 1950s and 1960s to win full civil rights for his people. Preaching non-violence, much in the same way as had Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi of India, Martin Luther King spoke out and campaigned tirelessly to rid the United States of traditions and laws that forced on black Americans the status of second-class citizens. Among these laws were those in some states which required black people to take back seats in buses or which prevented voting by blacks. The world was shocked when Dr King was assassinated in 1968. Ever since, special memorial services have marked his birthday on January 15. By vote of Congress the third Monday of every January, beginning in 1986, is now a federal holiday in Dr King’s honour.
Some holidays are observed in the custom by all Americans, for others, however, the customs can vary greatly. Those who feel strongly about the labour unions, for example, see Labour Day as a day on which to demonstrate labour solidarity in a public way. For others, Labour Day means a day off to go for a ride in a car, to go for a final summer swim or to hold a family get-together.
Sorry, but this is a very long letter indeed. Please, give my best wishes, love and season’s greetings to all your family and friends.
Love, Yours, Julia
picnic — пикник
parade — парад
firework(s) — фейерверк
bicentennial — двухсотлетие
crusade — кампания
preaching non-violence — проповедуя отказ от применения насильственных методов
to assassinate — убивать
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