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July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote his wife Abigail a letter.
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.
While his prediction of the celebrated day was a few days off, this founding father saw what the Declaration of Independence would mean for our nation.
The first celebration, in 1777, was a celebration many of us can relate to, including toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews and fireworks.
The following year, Gen. George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his Soldiers. The Fourth of July tradition has continued growing ever since.
What he couldnt have known was how we would celebrate our enduring pride in independence. He wouldnt have known about gas barbecue grills or fireworks apps on smartphones. He didnt know about planes that can link us together in hours or media networks that link us together in seconds. He certainly didnt know about Facebook Timeline and using Twitter to express our celebration of Americas Independence.
If our founding fathers joined us today, I believe they would embrace our modern celebration of liberty.
Many Americans will spend today with family and friends, much as our founding fathers did, eating, drinking and enjoying time with one another. From Facebook posts to dips in the pool, everyone has their own way of celebrating Independence Day.
Many of us will end the day watching fireworks, and whether at the National Mall in Washington, or seeing children with sparklers, remember the reason we have been celebrating July Fourth for more than 200 years American independence.