Sunday, July 4, 2010

The First Sunday in July

Happy Independence Day! The phrase "Fourth of July" conjures up images of barbecues and sparklers and Martha Stewart handcrafting her own red, white, and blue picnic table out of her own wood that she grew and cut herself. But "Independence Day" conveys so much more pomp and excitement that I think I'll use it. How often do we get to work pomp into our daily routine? Johns Adams said, "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." Johns Adams worked pomp into his routine, and I think I will, too. The guns I can make do without, and bells can be kind of annoying, but I'm all about the pomp, parades, bonfires, and illuminations.

Note to the reader: Non-history-nerds should skip this paragraph and just go onto the next. John Adams was not confused or mistaken; the second day of July is mentioned because that was the day the congress approved a break from the Crown. The actual Declaration of Independence was approved on the fourth, so that is the day we celebrate. (That crazy Jackie, she always sneaking off and looking something up…")

So, no more Happy Fourth of July for me. I am bringing Happy Independence Day into my holiday lexicon. People don't say to each other, "Merry December Twenty-Fifth!" or "Happy Last Thursday in November!" You don't hear reports that, "Local police will have DUI checkpoints at all major intersections on January First's Eve." Car dealers don't have Last Monday in May sales, and nobody says, "Have a good September Sixth Weekend." Not one single person in the country says, "Hey, have a nice Eight Days Beginning on December Second." I know celebrating Cinco de Mayo has gained popularity thanks to the fine people at Corona, but that's an entirely different case and completely understandable. Cinco de Mayo sound sounds more festive and fun than the Fifth of May. But I draw the line at dressing up for the Thirty-First of October or commemorating a civil rights leader on Third Monday in January Day. I just won't do it. So, join me, if you wish, in celebrating a spirit of independence, pomp, and celebration. Or, just have a nice First Sunday in July.

1 comment:

  1. I loved 4th of July growing up, it was the one day when activities happened at our house on Ashdale Street, the Albrights would come up, we would eat burgers from the charcoal grill and potato salad was in the glass bowl with white specks on it(that I now have and make Rocky use when he makes it) in the back yard and at night Nanny and Aunt Edna would take the kids to the Olney HS field to watch the fireworks. The grand finale was always a very large American Flag that lit up. The rest of the adults sat in the driveway behind the house and watch from there. Sitting on the lawn at the field the sound shook your whole body and your neck hurt from looking up the whole time. All the traffic on Rising Sun would come to a standstill, the trolley's would be backed up on both sides of the street. Nanny would sing along to the music and I guess that is how I learned all the songs listening to her sing them, she would also take us to Independence Hall to see the Liberty Bell, we would also go to Betsy Ross House, this was not done on the 4th but other days during the year when it was not so crowded. When we went downtown the stop to get the trolley back home was right outside Independence Hall. It really was a good place to grow up with Nanny, I miss that.