On the Fourth
First and foremost today, please take a few minutes to read (or reread) the Declaration of Independence. Read all the way to the end, including the names of those great patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so that we can today enjoy the freedoms and liberties they so nobly advanced.
Then go out and enjoy the holiday, while remembering what it's all about.
On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote home to his wife Abigail:
"But the Day is past. 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, Bonfire 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."
Although he mis-calculated which date we would come to celebrate (independence was voted on July 2, the Declaration was adopted July 4), Adams was in all other respects quite correct.
Happy Fourth, my friends.