4th of July in perspective

Last week we celebrated our most hallowed secular holiday — July 4, our Independence Day.

While for many this may be just a date that denotes a day off, a day to barbecue and a day to enjoy the great outdoors. Fireworks, baseball, hot dogs and apple pie fill the air; but what is the real significance of this noble day.

July 4, 1776. The original 13 American colonies declare independence from Great Britan rule as the Continental Congress proclaims a new nation made up of thirteen United States. The anniversary of this Declaration of Independence will continue to be celebrated in the United States as Independence Day. That evening the Liberty Bell rings for the first time.

July 4, 1803. A purchase agreement with France is announced by President Thomas Jefferson.

This purchase doubled the size of America and led to wealth beyond imagination for the fledgling United States. This acquisition even provided a name for our own state. The Louisiana purchase was the greatest acquisition ever made for America.

July 4, 1804, Nathaniel Hawthorne was born. Famous for his writings, he penned such literary novels as “The Scarlet Letter” and “The House of Seven Gables”. The latter would become the tingling movie of fear in 1940 starring Vincent Price.

July 4, 1826. The second and third presidents of the United States died. Both signed the Declaration of Independence. Both worked to craft that document. Both men, James Polk and Thomas Jefferson, ended their life’s journey on the same day. Exactly five years later James Monroe would die on the same date.

July 4, 1827. Slavery is abolished in New York.

July 4, 1831. The song “America, My Country Tis of Thee” has its first public appearance in Boston.

July 4, 1861. President Lincoln had earlier taken executive action following the fall of Ft Sumpter. He needed congressional action and requested by speech on this day that the Congress of the United States accept his presidential actions.

July 6, 1863. Vicksburg surrenders to the Union Forces after a bloody siege. There was so much bitterness that Vicksburg refused to celebrate the holiday for 81 years. 

July 4, 1899. This day would fall in the middle of America’s recognition as a legitimate world power. Three days earlier Teddy Roosevelt’s rough riders stormed San Juan Hill. Two days after San Juan Hill, July 3rd , the American fleet defeated the Spanish fleet in Santiago Harbor. The next day, July 4 th, America raised the flag on Wake Island. 

July 4 is not just another day, hardly. It has taken 247 years for America to become the greatest nation in the history of the world. Let us hope that we have the wisdom to continue to make modifications where needed, to continue to grow this noble country but yet not do irreputable damage in an attempt to change the complexion of our great nation. Let’s celebrate the good and relish the fact that we recognize and acknowledge our mistakes and then take measures to correct these mistakes.

God Bless America and Pray for the Ukraine.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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