John Adams on the 4th of July

After the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on the Second of July in 1776, John Adams wrote the following to his wife Abigail:
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. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. 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. (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

I read it at our little 4th of July party yesterday, as the Fourth was the day that the "great anniversary Festival" settled on. For all the flaws in this country, and all the shrill bickering in our nation today, the fact remains that we have been blessed by God to live our days in this time, place, and nation. Sam Harris thinks that the world would be a better place if no one believed in God; I think he's a fool, but I'm glad that he's free to think that, and that I'm free to put my faith in Christ. Two nights ago, Keith Olbermann called on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to resign after Bush pardoned Scooter Libby; as I wondered why he didn't ask the same of Bill Clinton, I was nevertheless happy to live in a country where a former sportscaster can tell the President to resign and wake up free in his bed the next day to do so again.

And why shouldn't we be proud to be Americans? We won back the hot-dog eating title!


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