Forgotten Fourth Fathers
Booms, pops, rat-a-tat-tats, and sparkling fountains fill noisy and colorful days and nights even though most cities and neighborhoods prohibit fireworks.
The Fourth of July holiday reminds me of many things.
In 1984, I visited the National Archives, when I suddenly stopped. Encased and heavily guarded was the original Declaration of Independence. It was difficult to read; parched, discolored, and distorted by an impenetrable pane to protect it from attacks and UV lighting.
Regardless, I already knew what it said.
In 1967, my class visited an exact replica of Independence Hall at Knott's Berry Farm in California. Inside, the signing of the Declaration of Independence was depicted in detail. Afterward, I bought a small parchment reproduction that I kept for many years. Over time, public priorities changed; the park is now fast amusement rides, noise, and glaring lights. The Hall gets less attention and perhaps the document is forgotten.
Many years passed while I explored my family tree. Using a handful of names I traced a few generations using birth, marriage, death certificates and viewing records on microfilm.
On my visit to Washington, D.C., I viewed our illustrious Declaration of Independence. Next, I visited my grandparents and mentioned I was still doing our genealogy.
grandmother said women in our family could join the Daughters of the
American Revolution (DAR); a sophisticated status symbol in her
youth, and asked me to verify our eligibility.
Our Declaration of Independence affirmed that being England’s subjects now ceased. We demanded equality, personal rights, and self-government in a document outlined by a Congress representing the People; their fellow citizens.
This instrument shaped our nation’s history and is a model for countries worldwide.
Fourth of July fireworks, barbecues, and days off work are meaningless to me.
Upon seeing the Stars and Stripes, hearing our national anthem, or pondering the costly sacrifices and dedication of these patriots of liberty and their families throughout the past; as well as, those of today ... I become very emotional.
The true Fourth of July celebration is their legacy for all generations.