Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

Like many Americans today, I enjoy Independence Day (the 4th of July) as a day off. From a look at Wikipedia, that's been a tradition for centuries, and even John Adams (later our second president) predicted that this declaration of independence would be celebrated in the future (although he picked July 2nd, when the closed session approved independence rather than July 4th, the date on the document). Fireworks and public celebrations have been part of America's national holiday since the beginning, but the holiday has only been a paid Federal holiday since 1938.

I plan to view fireworks tonight--a traditional thing--and enjoy a barbecue with friends. But to make use of this extra day off, I'll go out and (finally) wash the car, too. Why not? It's expected to be in the 90's today where I live (don't forget the sunscreen).

Yesterday I participated in and enjoyed an all-afternoon party that featured three bands (including mine) that was, in a way, a true 4th of July style day (minus the fireworks).

Interesting--I just read that John Hancock's famous oversize signature on the Declaration of Independence wasn't upscaled intentionally to get King George's attention, like they told us in school. It's just that he was the first to sign the document--and there was only one person with him at the time. Apparently, the signers did so separately and not on the same day. He didn't think his signature was larger--it was just the way he signed things. So--that famous painting of them all in the room is no different from someone Photoshopping them into one photo today. It's a myth--a very nice one, but still not historically accurate.

Somehow, I don't think this "fact" will diminish the significance of the holiday, although I'm sure we are so different today from the signers that it hardly matters.

Happy Birthday, United States of America.

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