Celebrate Independence Day Forevermore · 5 July 2011

Of Independence Day, John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail:

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.
(Letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail, dated Philadelphia July 3d. 1776)

I had never seen nor heard of John Adams’s letter until the other day at church when we saw a video with his words along with images of those who keep vigilant watch over our freedom. Then, the very next day, I witnessed and participated in the “succeeding Generations” celebrating on July 4, 2011.

As part of the celebrations, I was again reminded of the true meaning of the words written by Francis Scott Key when I saw the “rockets’ red glare” this year as the fireworks went off around our small town of Monroe, Washington. Sure, I know that many of our solemn days of remembrance are just reasons to get together and party, but Independence Day seems different. Those rockets and flags flying actually mean something to most of the partygoers.

I love that the city puts out flags along the streets on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day in our small town. It shows that at least some of us remember exactly what those days are about. It shows there are those, who even though they may not have read or heard the words of John Adams, know full well that there is a bloody cost to maintaining freedom. It shows there are still those who respect all who have ever worn a uniform to defend these United States of America and The Constitution that keeps it free.

We may not all remember any of the words of The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence, or even The National Anthem. And I am sure few of us have ever heard the words John Adams wrote to his wife, but if the flags on the streets of Monroe, parties around the country, and rockets’ red glare in the sky are indications, people certainly remember the spirit of that letter.

I love this country. I love and respect those who serve to keep it free – sometimes paying the ultimate price. And I love parades and fireworks and parties to celebrate Independence Day. I am glad I now have the words of John Adams to help remind me of what the day and the celebrations mean.

I hope that all “succeeding Generations” of Americans continue to have “…Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” And I hope God will continue to bless America.

© 2011 Michael T. Miyoshi

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