Happy Independence Day!

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Today is a day to celebrate America's independence, to remember the reasons our Founding Fathers declared independence, to renew our commitment to the liberties that they sought to secure, and to thank the Creator for the rights with which He has endowed us and for giving us, in His providence, a nation in which those rights are acknowledged and protected.

Tasha Does Tulsa has details on a long list of Tulsa-area Independence Day events, including the fireworks shows at 21st and the Arkansas River, at the Jenks Riverwalk Crossing, at the Owasso High School stadium, in Sapulpa's Liberty Park, and over Lake Keystone.

And don't forget about the 4th of July "Tea Party," a demonstration against wasteful government spending, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Haikey Creek Park, east side of Garnett Rd. between 111th and 121st St. S. in Broken Arrow.

Blacklight Radio, an Internet music station based here in the Tulsa area, will be playing a patriotic-themed song every 15 minutes over the course of the day.

As you get ready to celebrate, take a few minutes to remember what led up to the American Revolution and the decision of the Continental Congress to break with Mother England. The online John Adams archive has a letter written on July 3, 1776, by the Massachusetts delegate and drafter of the Declaration of Independence to his wife Abigail, in which Adams bemoans the consequences of the delay in making such a declaration, but also recognizes the benefit:

But on the other Hand, the Delay of this Declaration to this Time, has many great Advantages attending it. -- The Hopes of Reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by Multitudes of honest and well meaning tho weak and mistaken People, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished. -- Time has been given for the whole People, maturely to consider the great Question of Independence and to ripen their judgments, dissipate their Fears, and allure their Hopes, by discussing it in News Papers and Pamphletts, by debating it, in Assemblies, Conventions, Committees of Safety and Inspection, in Town and County Meetings, as well as in private Conversations, so that the whole People in every Colony of the 13, have now adopted it, as their own Act. -- This will cement the Union, and avoid those Heats and perhaps Convulsions which might have been occasioned, by such a Declaration Six Months ago.

But the Day is past. 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.

Adams was off by a couple of days -- we remember the 4th, the date when the final text of the Declaration of Independence was approved, rather than the 2nd, when Richard Henry Lee's resolution in support of making such a declaration was passed. And the number of approved Illuminations and approved places to ignite them shrinks year after year.

In another letter home on July 3, Adams wrote to his wife of the momentous decision made the day previous. Pay close attention the part I've highlighted, in which he looks ahead to the possibility of hard times for the nation:

Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony "that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do." You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell'd Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man. A Plan of Confederation will be taken up in a few days.

When I look back to the Year 1761, and recollect the Argument concerning Writs of Assistance, in the Superiour Court, which I have hitherto considered as the Commencement of the Controversy, between Great Britain and America, and run through the whole Period from that Time to this, and recollect the series of political Events, the Chain of Causes and Effects, I am surprized at the Suddenness, as well as Greatness of this Revolution. Britain has been fill'd with Folly, and America with Wisdom, at least this is my judgment. -- Time must determine. It is the Will of Heaven, that the two Countries should be sundered forever. It may be the Will of Heaven that America shall suffer Calamities still more wasting and Distresses yet more dreadfull. If this is to be the Case, it will have this good Effect, at least: it will inspire Us with many Virtues, which We have not, and correct many Errors, Follies, and Vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonour, and destroy Us. -- The Furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming, in every Part, will require a Purification from our Vices, and an Augmentation of our Virtues or they will be no Blessings. The People will have unbounded Power. And the People are extreamly addicted to Corruption and Venality, as well as the Great. [The letterbook copy of this letter includes the following sentence:] [ I am not without Apprehensions from this Quarter.]-- But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable [ as] the Faith may be, I firmly believe.

You don't often see politicians these days admitting to the possibility of hard times, much less praising their salutary effects on government and governed.

It's interesting, too, to see Adams' historical perspective of the events leading up to the war and the breach between Britain and America. He sees it not a process that began with the Intolerable Acts or the Boston Massacre, but one that had its roots 15 years earlier. The case to which Adams refers, dealing with Writs of Assistance, involves issues of individual rights and law enforcement that are still relevant today.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 4, 2009 1:08 AM.

The Gift of Standing Up was the previous entry in this blog.

The 4th - mine and others' is the next entry in this blog.

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