Okay, so technically, if you are an American history buff, Independence Day truly occurred on July 2nd when the Second Continental Congress passed the resolution of independence from Great Britain. July 4th, 1776 was the date they adopted the Declaration of Independence.
And while I am dispelling myths, the signers of the Declaration of Independence didn’t sign it on July 4th either. Most signed it on August 2nd, 1776. It makes for a nice story and sets a nice visual with them all in the same room on the same day voting for independence as well as signing the declaration.
Oh, and a bit of trivia – three of the signers actually died on the 4th of July – two died on the 50th anniversary (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) while the other died on the 55th anniversary (James Monroe). There you go – wow your friends later at the barbecues.
I always liked the Declaration of Independence. Not only was it a great source for quotes for debate arguments, it is a very well written and relevant for today.
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. “
Mrs Alderman from freshman year civic in high school would be proud to know that I remembered most of it from memory which I know was her hope when she forced us to memorize it. (And she made sure we knew it. She was a scary woman and demanding on the spot recitation of this passage whenever she decided to test you. In class, between classes, at lunch – no time was safe.)
Think of these words today. (Or listen to NPR’s reading of it which Garbanzo heard and reported it is amazing.) This is what you are celebrating. And if you have a flag, fly it. Regardless of your political opinions, it was this day in 1776 that gave you the ability to disagree with your leaders. To set forth your own destiny in life. To pursue happiness. Wave the flag and celebrate the fact you can do it.
As for us, we will be doing the most American thing we can do. Watching a baseball game, eating hot dogs, cracker jacks, and I’ll be drinking a beer. I’ll be teaching my girls how to keep score and explaining the game to them in hopes maybe Indigo will show interest in playing someday. Then, we will watch the fireworks. I can’t wait!