At the special request of StGuy Fawkes, a repost. Geraldo's birthday isn't the only reason to mark July 4:
Today marks one of the turning points in American history. Vicksburg, Mississippi succumbed to a lengthy Northern siege on July 4, 1863, the day after the defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg. With the fall of Vicksburg, the Confederate States were cut in two, and the Union Army controlled the Mississippi River. This surrender, coupled with the defeat of Lee at Gettysburg, ensured Union victory in the War of Northern Aggression.
From the Wikipedia entry:
The Confederate surrender following the siege at Vicksburg is sometimes considered, when combined with Gen. Robert E. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg the previous day, the turning point of the war. It also cut off communication with Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department for the remainder of the war. The city of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day for about eighty years as a result of the siege and surrender.
For a kick, check out the comments from last year's post.