Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day (July 2011)

For many of us, the Fourth of July is a day for parades, cookouts, baseball, fireworks, and family get-togethers.  But today is also the 235th anniversary of the official approval of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress.  Americans have much to be thankful for because of the work of our Founding Fathers.  Their tenacity and bravery put their lives and those of their families into potential jeopardy.  To be sure, some of the facts related to the signers of the Declaration have been stretched a bit (see The Price They Paid), but these brave men put their lives and futures on the line for generations of Americans to come.  We owe them a debt of gratitude.

Over these past 235 years, the Fourth of July has the occasion for some well-known and less well-known events.  In 1826 (the fiftieth anniversary), both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died within hours of each other.  They had been political opponents for decades, but they became reconciled shortly before their deaths.  During the American Civil War, the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg were decided by July 4, 1863.  Many historians suggest that those two battles signified the turning point of the Civil War.

More recently, the nation celebrated our Bicentennial in 1976, with much fanfare and hoopla.  Along with the useful fireworks displays in Washington, D.C., and New York City, there was a spectacular passage of the "Tall Ships" in the New York Harbor.  On a more personal note, I will always remember July 4, 1989.  Cynthia and I had been on a tour of England with the Owatonna High School Orchestra in the United Kingdom.  July 4 was the day we were to return to the States.  On the elevator at our hotel, one Brit asked us, "How are things in the Colonies?"  I replied that we were on our way to find out!  We flew into St. Louis from Heathrow Airport in London, and then we made our way up the Mississippi River that evening.  It was a spectacular sight as we saw fireworks displays in little towns all along the way.  What a great memory.

We all have our own memories of the Fourth of July.  And I am sure there will be many more in the future.  Have a great day.

1 comment:

PeeWee, the non-perishable-zealot said...

God bless you.
Might we go fishing in Seventh-Heaven??
They'll leeep-outta the water and...
we'll throw'm back without the hooks!!!
How cool.