Sunday, July 4, 2010

Celebrating 1776

I hope you all are celebrating the freedoms we have as a country as we commemorate July 4, 1776.  One of these being the freedom of speech and the ability to write without censor. Sometimes I shutter at the the things that are allowed to be in print, yet by that same freedom I am allowed to write and read what I will. And where would we be had the Declaration of Independence been not penned?

Did you know that the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2nd?

In a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams wrote:
"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."
Adams was correct about the celebration, although the day chosen as the anniversary, as we know, is July 4th which after debating and revising the Declaration of Independence,  the congress approved it.

Yesterday at our local bargain story I came across the Illustrated edition of Pulitzer prize author/historian David McCullough's 1776. The huge tome is filled with pockets containing reproductions of all kinds of documents pertaining to the period.  I had seen it the day before for $13 and decided to go back and getting after seeing it on Amazon with the original price of $65.  I could not believe my eyes when it had been marked down to $1.50!  So I picked up 4 copies (all they had left)! Now that's also something to celebrate, and just in time for Independence Day!

On the 4th of July we'll go to a grand fireworks celebration and display just a few miles away at the Fort Halifax  park on the Kennebec River (Winslow, ME).  Fort Halifax is a national historic landmark and has the oldest blockhouse in the U.S. It was the strongest and most extensive fortress in the state in the 17th century.  Fort Halifax was built by a force of 600 on July 25, 1754 under the direction of Maj. Gen. John Winslow of the Mass Bay Colony (Maine being part of Massachusetts at the time) to defend the colonial settlements in the Maine wilderness against Indian raids and from possible attack by the French. Winslow was a decendant of an Mayflower passenger who traded along the Kennebec along side my ancestor, John Howland. In 1775, during the American Revolution, Gen. Benedict Arnold (while still loyal to America) stopped there with hundreds of troops on his way to invade Canada.  The blockhouse (just one corner of the original fort) is the only structure in the state of Maine remaining from the Revolutionary War period. I'm so blessed to live in New England with such a great history.

"Our own Country's Honor, all call upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion, and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us therefore rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions -- The Eyes of all our Countrymen are now upon us, and we shall have their blessings, and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the Tyranny mediated against them. Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world, that a free man contending for Liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."
George Washington, 1776

How are you celebrating Independence Day? 
Whatever you do, I hope it gives you great joy!


  1. Love all this history, Carla! I have the same 1776 book and can't wait to read:) Glad your 4th is a blessed one!

  2. I want to read this fabulous colonial naval fiction my dad loaned me called _A Matter of Honor_, but I can't find it. Too many books!

  3. Hi Carla -

    Interesting - John Adams predicted we'd celebrate this event.

    We celebrated by attending two BBQ's and fellowship with good friends.

    Susan :)

  4. Thanks for sharing all of this! Hope you had a good weekend.

    Karen :)


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