America will be celebrating its 250th birthday and everyone’s invited: ‘Be inspired for our country’s future’

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While millions of Americans are right now focused on this weekend’s Labor Day holiday, another group of people is focused quite intently on an historic celebration farther out — but coming up fast nonetheless.

The 250th anniversary of America’s founding will take place on July 4, 2026, a little less than three years from now.

The America250 commission is already hard at work planning numerous events for the historic semiquincentennial celebration in consultation and in partnership with a variety of groups and stakeholders across the country. 

Congress created The U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission in 2016 to plan and orchestrate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. Rosie Rios, a former Treasurer of the U.S., was named its chair in early 2018. 

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“I have a fire in me for patriotism and that’s what I want my kids to have for 2026,” Rios told Fox News Digital in an interview. She referenced that, still to this day, she recalls celebrating America’s bicentennial on July 4, 1976, as a child. 

“The next generation of leadership,” she said — those in their 20s in particular — “perhaps may not feel the same way about our country right now, as certainly many of us did feel and grew up with,” said Rios. “But we want them to feel that way.”

She told Fox News Digital, “It’s important for people to see themselves in this commemoration and important for them to feel inspired for our country’s future.”

Through America250 and its public engagement, citizens across the country will be able to tell and share their unique and individual stories.

Anyone can “make a video, submit a poem, share a family recipe — whatever resonates with them,” she said, referencing the website America250.org. 

There are stories that “only each individual can tell — one person at a time, one family at a time.”

“This tapestry isn’t one-dimensional,” Rios noted. “It’s not even two-dimensional. It’s really thinking about what it means to be American.”

She added, “Everyone who has risked their lives to come to this great country — including my own parents, who came here in 1958 — everyone has a story of how they came here, unless they’re Indigenous, and what it means to live in this land of opportunity.”

And “those are the stories that only each individual can tell — one person at a time, one family at a time.”

She added, “In the end, this is all about people. It’s about Main Street.”

Appointed by the House and Senate leadership of both parties, the nonpartisan U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission consists of 16 private citizens, 4 U.S. representatives and 4 senators, and 12 ex-officio members from all three branches of the federal government and its independent agencies, the organization’s website notes.

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The campaign, America250 shared with Fox News Digital, “is rooted in a call-to-action inviting the public to share their own unique American stories — about their communities, culture, neighborhoods, and more — through photos, videos, artwork, poems, songs, essays or on social media.”

It continued, “These submissions may be displayed on America250’s website or social media platforms or lifted up by partner organizations as we begin our road to America’s 250th. Together, this content will showcase what makes our country unique and help create a portrait of America as we approach 250 years.”

In terms of expectations as the planning for America’s 250th birthday continues, “the best thing that everyone can hope for, as a federation of planning efforts, lies with our stakeholders,” said Rios.

“This includes the 56 commissions that we hope will form out of this process,” she said, “meaning the 50 states plus the territories and the district, to be able to share the content that started in earnest with the launch of America’s invitation on the Fourth of July. It’s also through all of these great partnerships that we have.”

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She said, “It’s our nonprofits, our historical societies, our academic institutions, our mayors, governors, city councils, community partners” and so many more,who will be joining in on the efforts to plan and get the word out. 

Her mother “sent all nine of us off to college. Only in America can something like that happen.”

“All of this can be shared digitally in a way that probably has never been documented before, given the access to technology that we have now,” she said.

She noted the group launched publicly on July 4th of this year and throughout the process will continue to be a “disseminator and an aggregator” of the many pieces of content, including stories and videos, that pour in from people around the country.

“It’s America’s story,” she emphasized.

As one example, she noted how a family wrote an amazing personal song “about what the semiquincentennial means to them.”

“This is also aspirational,” she said. “People are making their own personal pledges as to what they want to accomplish by 2026.”

Rios mentioned that one of her own 20-something children — her daughter is a graduate student in Wisconsin right now — “hopes to be defending her dissertation in 2026.”

So this is also “a great way,” said Rios, “for people to think three years ahead — which may seem like a long time from now, but it’s kind of around the corner — and think about their own personal growth, their own professional growth,” as well. 

This “aspirational component” is so important, she said. 

Rios noted that her mom, who recently passed away and who came to this country from Mexico, raised nine children as a single mother.

“She sent all nine of us off to college,” added Rios. 

“Only in America can something like that happen.”

In light of the COVID pandemic and all that has occurred in recent years, Rios noted that it’s “a very different world today than it was even 10 years ago.” 

And yet in thinking about and planning for this upcoming birthday of the United States, “along with being able to use the technology that’s at people’s fingertips today, I think it’s what we have in common, rather than our differences, that will help bind us together,” said Rios.

“A lot of people want that.”

And “having all Americans feel like this is their celebration,” added Rios, “is very, very important.”

She said the group has launched “America’s Invitation” to collect more ideas and inspirations for the celebrations — and “it’s not a one-and-done.” There will be ongoing events, exhibits and education and more leading up to July 2026 across the country.

America250 also announced that Nextdoor, an app dedicated to connecting neighborhoods, and YWCA USA, the nation’s oldest and largest women’s organization, have officially joined America250 as partners.  

To learn more, anyone can visit the America250 website. 

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