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Celebrate our independence (Editorial)

(July 4, 2017) The television networks often send reporters “into the street” so to speak, to query passersby about what’s going on the world or an issue in the news of the day or their opinion about a governmental decision or some such.
Fox News is particularly active in that sort of news coverage, sending Jesse Watters to college campuses, to protests of one sort or another, to large beach parties in Florida, or simply into the street to record — and test — the knowledge of the general populace there.
The ignorance is often appalling.
College graduates who do not recognize a photograph of President Harry Truman; two attractive young ladies who do not know who fought whom in the Civil War; and several passersby who failed to answer the question: “What are we celebrating on the Fourth of July?”
History is no longer a course of study in most schools in this country, and it shows.
The nation is suffering from that ignorance.
Here’s a brief refresher course. Pass it along to someone who may benefit from it.
“Independence Day,” also referred to as “the Fourth of July” or “July Fourth,” is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776.
The Continental Congress declared that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.
During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain’s rule.
After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author.
Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4.
A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
“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.”
Adams’s prediction was off by two days. From the outset, however, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2.
Here is some trivia that might stump even an historian here or there.
Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as president, died on July 4, 1831.
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, was born on July 4, 1872.
So far he is the only U.S. president to have been born on Independence Day.
So, Happy Fourth. Celebrate.
But as we do so, let’s remember what it’s all about. God bless America.