Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is the national day of the United States of America. The holiday commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was the principal author of the document, and he died exactly 50 years after signing the Declaration of Independence. John Adams, our country’s second president, also signed the document and died on the same day as Jefferson.
There were a total of 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Franklin said of the group, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Franklin’s words should strike a chord with American citizens today. We live in a country that is divided over many issues (health care, gay marriage, ect), but as a whole we can find common ground in most instances. Independence Day is one of those instances. It is the day that we celebrate the freedom that we all have in common with each other as well as with those forefathers who signed the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams knew that celebrating our independence would always be a part of the American story. He wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, saying, “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 games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forever more.”
With the multitude of fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics, concerts, ball games and ceremonies that will take place across our nation Wednesday, Adams words were quite prophetic.
The United States is the longest-lasting and most successful democracy the world has ever known. Let’s all come together and celebrate that fact this week.
- Daily Mountain Eagle