Happy Independence Day! Happy August 2nd!Huh? What happened to July 4th, you might ask? Let me explain with some little known (or long forgotten) facts about the 4th of July.
On July 2, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife: “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.”
While we celebrate the 2nd of July on the 4th, which is the date shown on the Declaration of Independence, in fact historians are convinced that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4th, as is commonly believed.
In a remarkable coincidence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, both died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. I can’t help but wonder if maybe they really died on August 2, 1826.
Now, all the odd facts aside—and there are many more—the one fact we feel sure of is we are celebrating our independence from the kingdom of Great Britain, as it was known then. I always wonder, though, why we need a date like the 4th of July to remember what freedom means, not just to me and you but to the whole of US. Perhaps summed up best in the Declaration of Independence, I wonder why, among us “Free Americans,” there are still groups that would deny these words and try to enslave those who do not agree with our views of freedom: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Here at Rambling Harbor, we celebrate Independence Day 365-and-one-quarter days a year. Come on shore where all men and women are created equal and give a listen.