While many of us think of the Fourth of July as a day of family, picnics, beaches, fireworks, retail sales and fun, we often lose perspective of the day’s true meaning. Just the fact that we generally call the day “The Fourth of July” and not “Independence Day” might tell us that the holiday’s impact has diminished over time, from a celebration of our national freedom and the declaration of political autonomy to just a date.
However, John Adams, one of our most notable Founding Fathers, wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776, stating:
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.
So our celebrations are just what Adams ordered 239 years ago! But, did Adams get the date wrong? During the American Revolution the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by R. H. Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. Congress then turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee with Thomas Jefferson as the principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4, 1776.
On the first anniversary of Independence Day in 1777, thirteen gunshots were fired in salute, once at morning and once again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, thirteen gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. And ships in American harbors were decorated with red, white, and blue bunting.
We at TUNG Brush and Gel wish you and your families a very, very Happy Fourth of July. We love celebrating our country and our proud that our produce is made in the U.S.A.! Remember our forefathers who laid the groundwork for our freedoms and for our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including the ability to have one heck of a party!
Happy Fourth of July!