COFFEE WITH KEITH
Today is not a holiday.
Take a look at your calendar. It’s July
5. Independence Day was yesterday, and even that may not be correct.
So, why are some businesses and organizations closed when there is no actual occasion to celebrate on this date?
Some places being closed for an “extended” holiday while others remain open is an inconvenience at best for those of us who work on nonholidays.
And we won’t even get into the day after Thanksgiving here and now. That day also is not a holiday.
No, Black Friday doesn’t count.
In any event, on Thursday we celebrated the United States of America turning 243 years old. Many of us recognized it in one way or another through get-togethers, parades, fireworks displays and other things.
This particular holiday – one day – is a time to pause and reflect on our country and remember that despite its problems, it remains the best place in the world.
As we all know, the history of the United States goes well back before 1776. A quick online review reminds us that European colonization began in the 16th century, and that our country emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast.
Numerous disputes between Great Britain and residents of the new land led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775.
Two-hundred-forty-three years ago, with the Revolutionary War ongoing, the colonies unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence.
The war ended in 1783, and the Constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1781, were felt to have provided inadequate federal powers.
The first 10 amendments, called the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. Other amendments followed.
From there, westward expansion occurred, much of it in the 19th century. Texas became the 28th state in the union on Dec. 29, 1845.
The Civil War divided our country, but its end in 1865 brought us back together.
The final two pieces of the puzzle were put into place in 1959 and 1960, respectively, when Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states.
It’s a storied history well worth remembering.
However, that history also tells us we’re celebrating on the wrong day.
And I don’t mean today, July 5.
It’s documented that the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.
After voting for independence that day, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision. It was prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as the principal author.
Congress debated and revised the wording of the declaration and approved it two days later – on July 4, 1776.
Some proof lies in a letter John Adams wrote to his wife on July 3.
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America,” he scribed. “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.”
Of course, we know that Adams’s prediction was off by two days as we’ve been celebrating our independence on July 4.
Again, that’s July 4 and not also July 5.
In any event, to readers and to Americans across our great land, a reminder that no matter what day it is, we’re still one nation, under God. It’s time to put many of our differences aside and work together to make it work again.
And we wish the United States of America a happy birthday even if we’re officially a day late.
Or is it three days late?...
With The Fourth of July being on Saturday next year (because of leap year), maybe some businesses and organizations again will be closed Thursday, July 2, and Friday, July 3, to celebrate.
After all, if the actual holiday is really July 2 …
As always, thanks for reading.