Happy Fourth of July
Independence Day, as its name implies, is about America’s declaration of independence as a separate nation, severed from the shackles of English rule.
While independence was declared on July 2, 1776, as the British fleet and army arrived in New York, we celebrate Independence Day on July 4, the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia, forever changing the course of history.
The writing and signing of the Constitution, not to mention nearly 7 more years of war, would follow. While the long process of ratifying the Constitution and creating a working government might be considered the central act in the formation of the nation, the Declaration of Independence may be just as significant as the formal act of breaking away from our foreign masters and asserting the intriguing notion that “all men are created equal.”
We would have to fight a civil war and endure years of social unrest before we finally concluded that this ringing phrase referred also to women and African Americans. But the germ of fundamental truth was there in the words, and, for centuries, the bracing language of that document has helped propel the idea of America as a nation unique in the world.
The brashness of spirit that brought the patriots to the point that independence from England was the only path forward is reflected in our Fourth of July celebrations. They aren’t somber and serious; they’re noisy, jubilant, colorful and high-spirited.