Reflections on Independence Day
I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day! I think of this day as our birthday, this year being our 242nd one! July 4th is a day in particular that reminds me of how blessed I am to be an American and how thankful I am for the amazing collection of leaders that made it possible, including Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, Hancock, Franklin, Madison, Jay…..and I could go on and on.
It really is interesting that in a set of colonies with only 3 million people (less than 1% of the current population of the US) we were fortunate to have this collection of leaders all at one time.
Yes, we currently have many challenges and issues in our country and in the world, and it can be overwhelming to process the seemingly daily barrage. However, I find it helpful to take some time to be thankful for what we do have as a country and to reflect on the remarkable collection of values-based leaders who set the wheels in motion 242 years ago to make it happen.
I love reading history and world civilization. Here are some notes that my friend, Fred O’Connor, sent me that provided some insight on Independence Day:
Happy 242nd Birthday America!
John Adams wrote from Philadelphia to his Abigail on July 3rd, 1776:
…The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not.—I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.—Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
One month before the signing of the document, Congress had accepted a resolution put forward by Richard Henry Lee that stated: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
On July 4th, Congress adopted the more poetic Declaration of Independence, chiefly drafted by Thomas Jefferson. The president of Congress, John Hancock, and its secretary, Charles Thompson, immediately signed the handwritten draft. By August 2nd, fifty-six congressional delegates had signed. This document was then sent to the printers and distributed throughout the colonies. General George Washington, one of five delegates absent owing to military operations, did not affix his signature.
Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks, but Congress didn’t make it official until 1870, when it was part of a bill passed to recognize major state holidays at a federal level — like Independence Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day. In 1941, Congress made the 4th of July a paid holiday for federal employees (and why not!?).
Wishing you and yours the many blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. May we continue to honor, and be worthy of, the great gifts bestowed on all of us – by our Creator, and by brave men and women who came before us.
Have a great week!!!