“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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. ” – John Adams in a letter to his wife, Abigail Adams.
You're probably seeing this quote everywhere. It is not merely so that we have a reason to laugh at John Adams. If there's one thing American history is pretty famous for, it is getting things just ever so slightly wrong enough. Bunker Hill, July 2nd. You know, who cares about the details? But, just because we had the date a little wrong is no reason to neglect the most important part:
“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. “
America is built on a basic foundation that people have certain rights, and that we should work our hardest to ensure those rights for others. We sometimes slip up, but we're working forward towards achieving that ideal. Have a happy Fourth of July and enjoy the fireworks.
Also, maybe it is a good thing that John Adams was wrong. I mean, we've by fiat, moved enough other holidays from their actual days to convenient three-day weekends, so maybe eventually Independence Day will just be floating, and it will be happy coincidence that it lands the fourth.
If you have a chance, go visit a copy of the Declaration of Independence.