Independence Day marks the day (roughly, it was actually July 2) that the Continental Congress declared the thirteen colonies legally separate from Great Britain. It was the vote, not the actuality (independence was formally obtained by the Treaty of Paris in 1783). Here’s a letter excerpt from John Adams to his wife, Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Both Adams and Thomas Jefferson—the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence, and the author of the stunning phrase, “We hold these truths to be self-evident….”—served as presidents and died on the same day 50 years later, on July 4. (Facts and exerpt from Wikipedia and ConstitutionFact.com)
By all means enjoy, with “games and bells and illluminations.” America is the greatest experiment in liberty in history, and I say “experiment” because we continue to evolve. Above all, be appreciative that we’re here, and generous in what we can provide.
Last week’s quote, “Don’t ever be absolutely sure of anything—not even if I tell you,” was actually by Bertrand Russell, not Oscar Wilde. Apologies for using only my memory. One reader wrote a blistering attack on my ethics and character, instead of merely pointing out the error. To race to that kind of rancor is a personality disorder that is stunning in its dysfuntionality.
This week: The only safe thing is to take a chance. — The late director Mike Nichols
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