Declarations and So On

Happy Independence Week.

While the Fourth of July is not my all-time favorite holiday, it is the most exciting one. The details of the story of how this nation came to be, and the characters that formed it, never get old. So on the appointed day this week, between BBQ and fireworks, I spent a few moments trying to imagine what it must have been like to be among the founders on the day they founded the United States.

Only, of course, it’s hard to say exactly what day that was. Adams thought July 2 would be the day in the history books, and there’s some thought the ceremony of signing the Declaration wasn’t until August. The war was won in 1781. Legally the colonies did not become a country until 1783. The Confederation didn’t give way to the Constitution – and the presidency of George Washington – until 1788.

So easy to think, as we troop down to the nearest open space to watch some fireworks, that the country burst forth in a similar blaze of glory on July 4, 1776. Nothing wrong with picking a day to mark the occasion, so long as we don’t forget that the real story doesn’t end with the Declaration of an intent to act. Just as with everything else, the work and the story that matters came after that.

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