*** “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

*** “Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.” ~ John Adams

*** “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country…” ~ John F. Kennedy

~ A very brief history of the Fourth of July, aka Independence Day:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness…” ~ from the Declaration of Independence

  • On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere warns, “The British are coming.”
  • On June 7, 1775, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduces a motion calling for independence.
  • Called “a moral victory for Americans,” the American Revolution’s first major battle, the Battle of Bunker Hill, is fought that June 17, 1775.
  • On July 2,1776, in keeping with Lee’s motion, the Continental Congress votes in favor of independence.John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail, writes that the 2nd “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and with “Pomp and Parade… Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other.”
  • Written on a writing desk that fit on his lap—the first laptop–Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence is revised 86 times before its adoption on July 4 and celebrated on that date ever since, despite John Adams’s wishes.
  • The first two men to sign the Declaration are John Hancock, president of the Congress, and Charles Thompson, its secretary; the other 54 signees following suit during the next month.
  • The Declaration is first read publicly on July 8 in Philadelphia’s Independence Square to the sounds of a band playing and bells ringing.
  • Every July 4, the descendants of the signers tap the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia 13 times, once for each of the original thirteen colonies.
  • Written secretly in the summer of 1787, the United States Constitution is signed on September 17, 1787, thus establishing our national government.
  • In 1870, Congress makes the 4th a national holiday, turning it into a paid holiday for all federal employees in 1938.

Remember, though: John Adams wanted Independence Day celebrated on July 2nd, not the 4th. Finally, this year his wish is being honored with Philadelphia’s Red, White, & Blue To-Do, treating all comers to concerts, games, discounted Old City restaurants, and much more.

Of note: The Declaration’s 50th anniversary was celebrated on July 4, 1826. On that date–and estranged for some 11 years–Thomas Jefferson died at 83 in Monticello, Virginia around noon. Several hours later, 90-year-old John Adams passed away in Quincy, Massachusetts.

~ With good Independence Day wishes, Carol