On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”
Did you know? John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. (via History.com).
It reminds us that independence is not a statement or a date on the calendar, but an unfolding of freedom. And in that way we are always in a state of seeking independence. Sometimes from foreign powers, and more often these days, from domestic and systemic ones. This Fourth of July, let us celebrate the laudable history of our nation, while also recognizing that freedom is often qualified by those who are able to enjoy it. Let us continue to be in the process of independence for all Americans, and for all people: independence from oppression in all forms. And let us continue to embody the best of the American experiment, seeking liberty and equality for all, making amends and restitution to those whom we have denied those rights, and learning how to continue to form a more perfect union.