“The furnace of affliction produces refinement, in states as well as individuals.” John Adams
Last night we watched the fireworks in Boston. I marveled at the pyrotechnics. Color changing, sky spanning spectacles in a single blast. Even smiley face fireworks. (how do fireworks work?)
History came to mind. A ponderance: what do you think it was like for the signers of the Declaration of Independence on July 3, the day before they lay their names on the creation of a nation? One that 250 years later I would grow up in and through opportunities travel beyond, into the world and build ideas into collaborations, meeting new people and discovering infinite wonders. So today I googled July 3, 1776 and found some interesting letters from John Adams.
Rather legitimately inspiring to read concepts catalyzing a country to form.
I am surprised at the suddenness as well as greatness of this revolution. … Time has been given for the whole people maturely to consider the great question of independence, and to ripen their judgment, dissipate their fears, and allure their hopes, by discussing it in newspapers and pamphlets – by debating it in assemblies, conventions, committees of safety and inspection – in town and country meetings, as well as in private conversations; so that the whole people, in every colony, have now adopted it as their own act. “
Adams even gave suggestions for future independence-celebrating generations: “The second day of July, 1776, will be 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 solemnized with pomp, shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever.” Did you notice he says July 2nd? That’s the day the Continental Congress voted unanimously to instigate a revolution.
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 light and glory; I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph, although you and I may rue, which I hope we shall not.
On this day, we Americans celebrate freedom. I appreciate it and life in general. After traveling to many countries and especially spending time in post-revolution Egypt on the grips of returning to dictatorship, I am reminded how many a people remain in states of oppression and lack basic rights of life and liberty. I tip my beer to you brave ones who have the wisdom to research other revolutions and the courage to catalyze your own. I suppose there is also that bit of revolution ready to happen inside each of us. A little spark that can be fanned into a daring risk, a scary change. Here’s hoping we all get a little fire in our veins today and always.
Happy Independence Day
Draft Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson 1776
“These United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, and as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and to do all the other acts and things which other states may rightfully do.”