Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

- from Wikipedia

"During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

“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.”

Adams' prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

One of the most enduring myths about Independence Day is that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The myth had become so firmly established that, decades after the event and nearing the end of their lives, even the elderly Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had come to believe that they and the other delegates had signed the Declaration on the fourth. Most delegates actually signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776. In a remarkable series of coincidences, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two founding fathers of the United States and the only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence to become president, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the United States' 50th anniversary."

Happy 4th! As we celebrate our independence, let's take a little time to remember the sacrifices our forefathers made to create this country and to declare ourselves independent and free. As you do so, make a commitment to work to continue that tradition of freedom and independence for all.


Ella Smith said...

Cerebration you said it so well. An opportunity to a free education is a wonderful thing that has been given to every child and parent in the United States.

So many times we look to find what is wrong with our public schools but we also need to look at what it took to offer public education to every child in American. Remember the struggles that the disabled individuals and also the African American children had before they had the same rights as others. We have a wonderful country and we all should be thankful for all the good things that we have at our fingertips. So many children do not realize what they are not taking advantage of by not getting a good education.

You can take a horse to the water but you cannot make them drink.

No Duh said...

If you want to take your family for a very moving experience, you should check out the gravesites of a couple of Revolutionary War soliders (yes, Rev War, not Civil War!) in Tucker.

They are located behind an American Legion building that is off Fellowship Road. Take Fellowship down about a half mile, past a church on the right. Turn right at the street past the church (don't remember the name). At the end of that road is an American Legion location. Park in the AL parking lot and the cemetery is up the hill behind the lot.

It was very powerful to do this on July 4, but any day it's special because these guys fought for our independence!

Cerebration said...

I would also highly recommend that you spend the time to either read "John Adams" or watch the 7 part mini-series. It's an amazing story - and actually a miracle that this country was ever formed.

Ella Smith said...

Good suggestion. Since I cannot go to the beach and enjoy my normal 4th of July maybe this will be something I can do instead.

Thanks. Great idea.

Cerebration said...

We need to remind ourselves of the words inscribed on the statue of LIBERTY ENLIGHTENING THE WORLD -- the poem by Emma Lazarus, an early Jewish nationalist who advocated for a Jewish state in Palestine as early as the 1880s.

Near the end of her life she became an advocate for disenfranchised immigrants, who were arriving by the thousands in the late 1800s. We still have disenfranchised immigrants. They have children in DeKalb County Schools. We are called to a higher purpose by our declaration of freedom and democracy to do whatever we can and whatever it takes to educate and lift up each and every student in our charge.

The New Colossus

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset fates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Kim Gokce said...

How long-winded can I get? ...

My patriotic heart is comforted by your post - there are so many people diluting the unique quality of American patriotism that I am often discouraged.

Reading "John Adams" a couple of years ago was one of the most inspiring experiences I have had with a book - it should be required reading for every HS senior. Let them understand how this otherwise ordinary man changed the course of human history through his love of God, the Rights of Man, and his incredible hard work and courage.

Like our founders, I had a bit of an issue with July 4th this year - I worked on the 4th and 5th so my celebrating occurred on the 3rd in Sugar Hill, GA. At E. E. Robinson park, the city put on an incredible event among the baseball fields.

Just prior to launching the pyrotechnics at dark, a single female voice began "The Star Spangled Banner" over the loudspeakers. For hours prior, easily a couple of thousand persons of every stripe were picnicking, playing games, and generally being loud and disorderly as pop music blared over massive speakers.

Within the first stanza of the song, the crowd grew silent and slowly rose to its feet; caps were lowered and many hands placed over hearts. Very few remained seated on their blankets and camp chairs. It was very moving and a hopeful moment for this sentimental, aging patriot. I saw many of the children of Mexico, Guatemala, and other points south, marveling at this display of love for liberty.

How much do I want our children to know the history of and to love liberty? I gave my son the middle name, Lachlan, in honor of Lachlan McIntosh. A Highlander in Oglethorpe's Savannah colony, Lachlan served Georgia's Militia with honor and later, the Colonial Army as a General under George Washington in Western Pennsylvania and Valley Forge.

He's buried in the Colonial Cemetery in central Savannah. The cemetery is also the unconfirmed site for his fateful duel with Button Gwinnett in which both men were wounded and after which Gwinnett died. Loch Moy!

I have been visiting his and other McIntosh grave sites since I was a tike. I've been researching for years our McIntosh heritage to confirm or disclaim relations to this man - so far, I'm back to 1810 with no direct links.

However, my son and I and all citizens of this country are linked in an important way to Lachlan McIntosh and John Adams and many patriots that came afterward. Did they give their blood and treasure in service of Liberty, making such sacrifices most often in the name of God, so we, their progeny, could take our liberties for granted?

No. Today, our children enjoy the same rights they won for their children. In the same spirit of service to our fellow citizens and children yet unborn, let us continue to encourage and protect the privileges of education (public or private) among the people of the United States!

"The preservation of the means of knowledge among the lowest ranks is of more importance to the public than all the property of the rich men in the country." - John Adams

Cerebration said...

thanks for sharing that Kim - I enjoyed reading it... my hometown in Ohio has a War of 1812 battlefield located in it which has a reconstructed fort and museum. I guess the history of our country's independence just kind of seeped in while I was a kid. It's a miracle that the United States exists.

My ancestors haven't been here as long as yours, but I do know that my great, great granddaddy was a pirate! ('splains a lot doesn't it Lucy?)

My husband's family has more history and it's been traced. I hate to say it, but our children's great, great granddaddy burned through this town with Sherman - and continued all the way to the sea. (Made for an interesting 4th grade family history report.)

Sorry for the boring info, people -- but it IS my blog. I'll be posting our vacation photos next week.