Archive for Thursday, July 5, 2007

What a great day!

July 5, 2007

Independence Day was Wednesday. What a wonderful celebration this is to honor our country. And what a privilege that we have the freedom and independence to celebrate as we see fit. It covers a multitude of parties, parades, picnics, family gatherings and watching beautiful fireworks while listening to patriotic music.

One of my all-time favorites is hearing the Boston Pops play "The Star Spangled Banner." It makes me proud and brings my wife to tears.

Our country was born on the Fourth of July, 1776, so it is 231 years old. Fireworks have been associated with this date since 1777. In 1778 Gen. George Washington marked the Fourth of July with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an Artillery Salute. The words "Independence Day" were first used in 1791 so that became the new name for the Fourth of July. In 1870 the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees. In 1941, the Congress made Independence Day a federal paid holiday.

In a remarkable series of coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two Founding Fathers 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. President James Monroe died exactly five years later, on July 4, 1831, though he did not sign the Declaration of Independence.

As our children were growing up, our Chit and Chatter Club had a huge celebration on the Fourth, and these picnics went on for many years. In 1981, our daughter left in the middle of a family gathering to present us with grandson, Chris, born on the Fourth of July, and for a long time he was convinced all the parties and fireworks were just for his birthday. Now he's an old man of 26.

It is so important for everyone who lives in this great country to realize that along with the freedom and independence we enjoy, we must be responsible and accountable for our own actions, along with a big helping of common sense.

Hope you had a great Fourth.

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