Celebrating who we are | IN OUR OPINION

  - Bainbridge Island Review photo
— image credit: Bainbridge Island Review photo

Independence Day brings all kinds of wonderful images to our minds.

It’s the day for red, white and blue everything. Whether it be streamers on bicycles in neighborhood parades, or the icing on the holiday cupcakes, it’s a day where all of us are proud Americans.

But do we really know the origins of the day?

July 4, 1776, is thought of as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

But July 4, 1776, wasn’t the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence. That happened on July 2, 1776.

And according to ConstitutionalFacts.com, it wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either. That had happened in April 1775.

And it wasn’t the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence. That was in June 1776. Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain. That didn’t happen until November 1776. Or the date it was signed. That was August 2, 1776.

So what did happen on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They’d been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2, and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.

July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August.

Celebrating the Fourth of July became common as the years went on and in 1870 — almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written ­­— Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday.

On this July 4, enjoy the day’s events, be it a parade or picnic or just a day to relax. Take in a great fireworks show. But don’t forget to be careful and remember what the day really stands for. Give thanks for the great county we have, and for our forefathers who had the vision to make it so.

Independence is something that cannot be taken lightly. Independence, indeed, is worth celebrating.

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