With all the justly due attention the 4th of July gets, I thought I'd shift some attention to the day that made it all possible, literally and historically. Just as the number four follows the number 2, so too is the historical significance of the 4th of July dependent on the 2nd of July. To find out why, we just need to ask Ben Franklin, inventor, philosopher, architect for a nation, wisdom for the generations, patriot and one of the most quoted Americans in history:
“ 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. ”
Ben's reference here is to the actual creation of The Declaration of Independence, the document that claimed our nation's soveriegnty. It was drafted on July 2nd but not ratified until the 4th. Ah-ha, the light just went on for some of you, didn't it? There's something else important to note in Ben's quote and that is it layed the groundwork way back then, as to how (and how long) Independence Day, aka, The 4th of July, should be celebrated - loudly, brightly and without end.
Dates not with standing, Ben's view of the importance of the document and the celebration of the day should not go without recognition so this year, when you fire up the grill, make the flames higher, play harder, laugh louder, bear your arms, ring bigger bells, thank God and celebrate like only Americans know how to celebrate.