Day 172: Happy Independence Day!

“…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.”—John Adams

Though John Adams was speaking of July 2nd, rather than the 4th, which was to finally become associated with the official declaration of independence, his prediction hit strikingly near the mark.

The men and women who made the revolution ranged widely in age, from Lafayette who came here at age 19, to Benjamin Franklin who was over 70 when he played the role of our ambassador to France.

They came from many places, like Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the Polish engineer, Baron von Steuben of Prussia, or Bernardo de Gálvez of then Spanish Mexico, who threw themselves into the task of aiding the homegrown patriots. There were those who ancestors had been here long before others, like the oft forgotten Stockbridge Indians and the Choctaw, or the Abenaki, who found their tribes torn apart by divided allegiances, in a fashion that mirrored that of the colonists.

In the tales of the revolution, can be found both flashes of boldness, and slow, deadly drama. There was Sybil Ludington’s nighttime ride, twice as long as Paul Revere’s! And there was the case of the slave James Armistead, who became one of the first double agents in US history, feeding false information to the British, and reliable intelligence to the Americans during the crucial months that led up to Yorktown.

Let us not forget any of them, and the freedom they fought for, or that today is as good a day as it was 239 years ago, to declare our independence .