Today we celebrate the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4th, 1776. The Declaration announces the successful separation of the thirteen colonies from Great Britain and the freedom to move forward as a separate nation. At that time no one would have imagined that Great Britain would go on to become one of our strongest allies.
In the two hundred and forty-five years since the Declaration of Independence was signed people have celebrated the 4th of July in many ways. According to a July 5th, 1777 letter John Adams wrote to his daughter Abigail, “The thought of taking any notice of this day, was not conceived, until the second of this month, and it was not mentioned until the third…” Between the 3rd and the 4th Congress decided to take the day off and John Adams marked the occasion with a meal on the Delaware “frigate”, with the President and members of the Marine Committee. They were saluted with the discharge of thirteen guns. Adams wrote people gathered on the shore “shouting and huzzaing, in a manner which gave great joy to every friend to this country…” But what surprised him later that night as he was “walking the streets for a little fresh air and exercise”, were the candles in nearly every window in the city. “I walked most of the evening, and I think it was the most splendid illumination I ever saw”. Visit the Library of Congress to read the letter in entirety, http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?hlaw:2:./temp/~ammem_0qa4::
Although the 4th of July was not declared a federal holiday until 1941, Americans have celebrated the occasion for nearly two and a half centuries. The Covid-19 pandemic created a pause in some parades and firework displays, but people still found ways to celebrate and pomp and circumstance is beginning to return. Speaking of parades, during the 2017 campaign season, Sage for Schools supporters participated in the Redmond Derby Days parade where I met a relative I never knew I had! The parade entry behind me was a Model A club. Seeing our “Sage” shirts, the driver of the first car got out and asked who the “Sage” was. That driver turned out to be George Sage! Redmond residents may remember him from Sage Electronics where he and his wife, Ila, operated their repair business. All four of their children attended LWSD schools and graduated from Redmond High School. George spends his “retirement” running Owl Auto Electronics and restores antique automobiles. At the time we met, I had lived in the area for 22 years and our paths never crossed. Now we visit and spend holiday time together. He even lets me ride in the front seat!