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Independence Day; A little focus before the fun.

Independence Day is upon us….No not the amazing early 90’s movie….though now that you mention it that would be fun to watch this week. Anyhow, The Fourth of July is here and I am as giddy as a school girl (what does that saying even mean?). While I am unsure of what that saying means, I do know that The Fourth of July is my FAVORITE day of the entire year! So for this entire week I am going to share some of the fun ways I am celebrating this year.

But before we can celebrate we should probably understand the why and how of Independence Day, especially given the sense of divide in the air among Americans, as of late. While we are all different and unique in our races, ethnicity’s, religions, and creeds, we are all the children of the great and wonderful experiment of democracy, so that makes us all alike. Lets take a quick History Lesson, shall we?

Vintage Fourth of July Postcard

I love old vintage postcards and these Fourth of July cards are some of my favorites.

  • Independence Day, commonly known as The Fourth of July, or July Fourth, is a Federal Holiday in the U.S. celebrating the separation of the original thirteen colonies from the Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. Yes you read that correctly, the Declaration of Independence was voted on and signed over a year into the war (just like Americans to jump into something with out putting a plan on paper).
  • John Adams (one of the original member of the Continental Congress and the Second President of the United States) wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3rd 1776 saying,

“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 triumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

           Yes I realize there is some discrepancies in the dates. Most historians agree now that the vote to approve a resolution of independence took place on July 2nd, with the actual Declaration of Independence document being written and ratified over the next two days and released to the public on July 5th.

A few fun facts about the Fourth of July to get you into the spirit.

  • The copy of the Declaration of Independence on display in the national archives is an engrossed copy that The Congress ordered written on parchment on July 19th 1776 and was signed (for the most part) by August 2nd 1776. The actual copy (known as the rough draft) which contains the note of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Johns Adams and others is kept in the National Archives. (I get the idea that the founding fathers had a real grasp of the gravity of what was occurring. Do you?).
  • The First Independence Day Celebrations occurred in 1777 on July 4th in Bristol, Rhode Island.
  • In 1870 Congress made The Fourth of July an unpaid holiday for federal employees, at the same time recognizing other holidays….like Christmas (thank goodness they set that one straight). In 1938 Congress changed Independence Day to a paid holiday for federal employees.

Some fun facts and vintage postcards to get your into the patriotic mood for the Fourth of July.

  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a turkey, citing the bald eagles lazy scavenger ways.
  • An estimated 150 million hot dogs are consumed on July 4th (I may be responsible for at least 500 of that amount).

Without a true understanding of what took place over 200 years ago we can’t properly celebrate. John Adams knew what is was that was going on, He understood the great privilege and even greater responsibility that the Continental Congress was taking into its hands when they began by saying, “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, “. That same privilege and responsibility is ours today.

Some fun fact to start your Independence Day celebrations off right.

The great experiment began that day, and it goes on still today. So light your fireworks, and eat your hot dog, by all means (I sure has heck will be) but don’t forget that while our history has been sorted and painful, it as also get amazing and unique and deserves both contemplation and celebration.

Come back tomorrow for a 1000 word dissertation on the Preamble…. just kidding….I promise we will make something fun and pretty!

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2015 by in Holiday.
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