Tomorrow marks 244 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. This date is often called the Fourth of July, but I prefer to call it by its rightful name, Independence Day. We celebrate this day because it is the anniversary of the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed. It begins with the following declaration and ends with the 56 signers pledge of “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….
There are those who do not believe that “men are created equal” because of the injustices of men. I remind them that this statement is the ideal to which we work. Even though the United States of America is not perfect yet, it is the most just and merciful of all nations on earth. Our new nation began with the Declaration of Independence. Upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote the follow in a letter to his wife Abigail about the 4th of July.
[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 triumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
Americans have taken Adams’ counsel to heart and usually celebrate the annual commemoration of this great day with parades and rodeos, fireworks and camping trips, baseball games and picnics. However, Americans will commemorate this day in 2020 in a quieter way due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the numbers of cases continue to rise, we are encouraged to celebrate with plenty of physical distance and large celebrations have been cancelled due to the coronavirus gripping the nation. Due to fire danger, fireworks are illegal here in Anchorage and most of Alaska.
My celebration of Independence Day began weeks ago when I started studying about the founding era of our nation in the Prelude of Glory series of books written by Ron Carter. Through the words of Carter, I was with the American army as they narrowly escaped from New York with the British Army chasing them across New Jersey. I suffered with the Americans at Fort Ticonderoga when they realized that it was necessary for them to leave the fort without a single shot but were later in a position to destroy and/or capture the British soldiers at Saratoga. I froze with the American soldiers as they crossed the icy Delaware River on Christmas Night 1776 to surprise and win victory over the British-hired German soldiers at Trenton and then march around the British Army to take Princeton. I suffered with the American soldiers as they endured winter with insufficient food and clothes at Valley Forge.
Besides studying the history of America, I have been humming, singing, and listening to great patriotic songs and hymns. I listened to medley of “God Bless the U.S.A” and “America” as sung by Dallyn Vail Bayles and the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuF0KQytMlQ I also listened to “God Bless the USA” featuring Lee Greenwood, Home Free, and The Singing Sergeants. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs0fxy8rHo8 The lyrics of “My Country Tis of Thee” have been running through my mind for days, so I found this version of it by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWJI0oA7fLM
My celebration tomorrow will begin with my daily raising of the flag of the United States of America and my private Pledge of Allegiance to it. I will continue reading about the Revolutionary War and listening to beautiful patriotic music. I will express sincere gratitude to God for His blessings upon our nation and to all those who sacrificed so much that my family and I can enjoy the blessings of liberty.