Our nation’s biggest official holiday falls on a Sunday his year, so the celebration of Independence Day will unfold across Northeast Mississippi from today through Monday.
Most people will still call the whole weekend July 4 because the spirit of the United States’ 234th birthday permeates almost everything planned during the next several days by families, businesses and public entities, including cities and counties.
Regardless of the day of the week on which July 4 falls, the reason for its red-letter status always should be celebrated because it represents both the ideas behind the actions taken in Philadelphia 234 years ago, and the struggle that followed the public Declaration of Independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776.
John Adams, a signer of the declaration and our second president, wrote what are arguably the best and most noteworthy instructions for marking independence, but he wrote in on July 3 because the document was approved on July 2 and made public on July 4.
Adams’ letter of July 3, 1776, written to his wife, Abigail, captures the grandeur of the moment. Here’s the quote in the spelling of the day:
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, 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 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 tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not,” (from “The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784,” Harvard University Press, 1975).
Many communities and families of Northeast Mississippi will follow the Adams tradition this weekend, and some events will include political speeches delivered in the spirit of those patriots who declared independence.
NEMS Daily Journal