Independence Day ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance
by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. – John Adams
Every year after the 4th of July, I’ve made it a tradition to write about the significance of what we call Independence Day and to consider the words written by John Adams, one of the founders of our country.
As Americans the 4th of July should be a day when we remember the Declaration of Independence and our country’s separation from Great Britain in 1776. In reality the 4th of July is a holiday that most of us celebrate with gatherings of family and friends, fireworks, cookouts, even parades and flags waving. But honestly, how many of us really think about the true meaning of this day? And just what do we mean when we say independence and freedom?
This year I am particularly aware of how many people don’t have freedom and how much pain and suffering are present in our world. I hear the news with horror of children – sometimes unaccompanied without their parents – trying to cross the Texas-Mexico border from their homelands where their parents fear for their children’s lives. I think of thousands and thousands of people in refugee camps who are trying to flee the torture and killings in their countries. And I personally am feeling how un-free and un-independent I have felt over the last year as I stayed in hospitals, rehab centers, and in my own apartment fighting my illness.
Yes, we are all guilty of taking our freedom and independence for granted. Having said that, let’s consider John Adams’ very moving and poignant words that he wrote to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776. I believe his words can help us put the celebration of Independence Day into perspective. (This is the exact text from his letter with original spellings.) “The Second Day of July 1776, 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 Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-84)
Those words speak volumes to me. Perhaps as John Adams stated, we should always remember Independence Day as a “Day of Deliverance” and celebrate it with solemn acts of devotion to God. We have so much to be grateful for, so many freedoms, so many choices, so many blessings. Life can be truly abundant, if we choose to be open to it. May we celebrate and honor our liberation, our freedom, our blessings through gratitude and prayer.
* How did you celebrate the 4th of July this year? Will it be different in the future?
* What are some of your blessings and freedoms that you are grateful for?
Beloved Creator, we thank you for creating us as your children in this amazing world. Thank you so much for the gifts of freedom, of liberty, of life. May we not take them for granted. May we celebrate our “independence” with solemn acts of devotion to You, our God Almighty. Amen.