Upon my return from a weekend of fireworks, family, and friends, I spent some time reading a little bit about our nation's independence. As I read, I was surprised to learn that we might have just as much reason to celebrate July 2nd as we do July 4th. It seems that one of our founding fathers, John Adams, thought that July 2nd was the day to celebrate. He wrote:
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha 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 for evermore."Isn't that interesting? We have been celebrating July 4th for over two centuries, but have we been celebrating the wrong date?
According to the entry for the U.S. Independence Day on Wikipedia.com, July 2nd was the date that the Continental Congress voted secretly for independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. After two days they authored a document, the Declaration of Independence, that was then ratified by 12 of our 13 colonies. That day, July 4th, 1776 became the day that we, the people, stood united as a new nation.
So we are celebrating the date that the people decided to ratify the Congress's decision as opposed to the date that a select few representatives secretly made a choice. We are celebrating a date when a decision was made that could not be made in silence and secrecy in order to have effect. This decision needed to be spoken with a voice that the whole world could hear... the voice of a nation.
For more information on our Independence Day, visit the "Independence Day (United States)" article on Wikipedia.com.