Happy Fourth of July! Here’s bit of American history for you…
Did you know that our separation from Britain was approved by Congress on July 2nd and not the 4th? Congress bickered over the wording for a couple of days… (editors!). Here’s part of a note John Adams sent to Lady Abigail (via wikipedia, a source you should trust implicitly for everything, forever):
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
So if you took the whole week off, just tell your boss it was due to the nation’s historical confounding of the true Independence Day and you were just covering your bases. Now onto the whole Liberty Bell myth:
In 1847, Poe’s buddy, George Lippard wrote a story for The Saturday Courier entitled “Ring Grandfather Ring,” in which the elderly bell keeper exhorts a young boy to listen in on Congress and get the signal when the Declaration of Independence was signed, for an appropriately timed bell ringing. Lippard’s fictional tale in the paper was stirring enough to stick in the American collective conscious… and made even more dramatic by the infamous crack in the bell, which was thought to have happened on that same fictional day. Historians disagree as to whether the bell was actually rung on July 4th 1776 because the steeple was in pretty bad shape and the progressively worsening crack has been dated back to the bell’s delivery back in 1751.
Although the stories and mythologies of Independence Day and the bell are historically inaccurate, it’s still a lovely day to celebrate how lucky we are as Americans. And my Granny Hazle was born today eighty-five years ago today. Here’s a photo of her and my grandfather on their wedding day, 1946… she was just nineteen. Such a lovely couple .