Tomorrow is Independence Day and I am so excited to be celebrating it in the United States! My husband and I have spent the past five of seven July 4ths abroad and it's good to be home for this one! I think it is apt to remember John Adam's famous words regarding this special day:
The fourth day of July "will be the most memorable Epocha, 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 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 although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not." (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784)
John Adam's words, as is so often the case, continue to be so relevant today. As our country struggles financially, spiritually, and politically it is worth looking back and trying to learn lessons from those who came before us and faced similar challenges. Adams wrote this on the eve of going to war with England, one of the mightiest countries on earth at the time. He knew that this declaration would have to be defended at great cost, human and otherwise. While we are facing numerous challenges as a nation today, it is good to place them within a historical narrative to help see them in their proper context. Yes, times are difficult, but we live in an extremely blessed nation and are part of a global community that has never been so wealthy, so prosperous, or so free. So often this is lost in the 24 hour news cycle and it is important to remember. I think that this is why the study of history is so essential today. It provides background and helps us understand our small place in the world. It provides contrast as well as direction. So, on this 4th of July, I think it would be a great time to stop, look back to our founding, and give thanks. Just as Adams saw the the 4th should first be marked by "solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty" so should we take time to recognize his goodness. I have a feeling that if our political discourse and policy could be directed more by gratitude than by fear we would go a long way in solving the problems that seems so outsized and insurmountable.
A very happy Independence Day from all of us at BFB! We hope you can spend time watching and participating in "Pomp and Parade" with family and friends. And if you're looking for some books about the founding of our country, we have many wonderful selections on our website. Check them out here!