It seems, from my vantage point, that it is easy to wake up on the fourth of July and think, "Yay! Today I am going to go to a parade, a barbecue and a fireworks show." Those things are all fun and fantastic and I have great memories of them. However, over the last several years, my desire to honor the true history of our holidays has grown. A couple years ago, I decided to read the Declaration of Independence every year on the fourth, consider the time when it was written and try to learn something new. It is amazing to ponder upon the possible trouble the men who signed the document were placing themselves in for their declaration and acussations thrust upon the King.
Last year, I read through one of the responses Britain had to the declaration, in which the statement of equality and seemingly hypocritical existence of slavery was questioned. It was truly interesting. This year, I read a letter that John Adams had written to his wife on July 3, 1776:
"This 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 tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not."