The Fourth of July is a simple holiday with a few beloved traditions. From coast to coast, the day calls for enjoying some beer, eating a few hot dogs, and trying not to lose a hand while blowing up miniature bombs. However, for 220 years we Americans celebrated the creation of our independent political state without even realizing that things could get even better. Then, in 1996, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin put out a film that would redefine summer blockbusters, launch the career of Will Smith, and give America even more to cheer for on the Fourth.

Independence Day had it all. The explosions, aliens, and global destruction set a new standard (in a pre-9/11 world when you could blow up fake world monuments with little hesitation), earning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The world fell in love with Will Smith, who, combined with his role in Bad Boys, became the leading action star of the decade. The film made over $800 million and became synonymous with the holiday that anchored its theme and story, joining the ranks of Halloween, Groundhog Day, and the marathon of Christmas movies that flood secondary cable channels every year.

Amongst all that, there is one scene in the epic that has persevered through two decades, and has stood above the CGI orgy that thrashes box offices each summer. To kick off the third act, President Thomas J. Whitmore, played by Bill Pullman, only has a few minutes before joining a ragtag team of volunteers who are about to launch a last-ditch effort against an all-powerful alien force. The military hero never got used to the neckties and bureaucratic compromise of politics, but in a short monologue, Whitmore delivers a rousing speech that immediately unites the surviving dregs of the desert who have gathered at Area-51 in the common desire to once again win back mankind's independence. 

Yes, an element of camp and nostalgia have increased the enduring love of this speech among the patriotic hordes that recite it every Fourth of July, but the truth behind this timeless scene only adds further to the greatest cinematic moment in the summer of '96. Not every 90-second sermon remains more engrained in the collective conscious than footage of the White House exploding, so we spoke to the people who made the scene happen (and also Bill Clinton's former speechwriter) to find out why. As Independence Day: Resurgence continues filming in the New Mexico desert and motors to a summer 2016 release, here is the full story on how one of the greatest speeches in cinematic history came to be, and how it very well may have influenced a future, real life president.