FIRE is very conscious of the fact that it is a uniquely American organization. Among the many peculiar and wonderful features of the United States of America is the First Amendment, which without a doubt guarantees Americans the strongest freedoms of speech, religion, association, and expression of any people in the world. It is therefore appropriate that FIRE mark Independence Day as a celebration of the nation that makes our organization what it is and the Framers of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution who set forth the principles that guide us.
There are many ways in which those Framers proved prescient. One of them is in the way that Americans would celebrate the day marking their emergence as a free and independent people. John Adams, later the second President of the United States, assisted Thomas Jefferson in drafting the Declaration of Independence, and on July 3, 1776, in a letter to his wife Abigail, wrote the following about the remarkable event. (A quick note: Adams thought the day to be celebrated would be July 2, the day independence was actually declared, rather than July 4, the day the document was adopted.)
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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
Prescient indeed, in both his joyful and solemn predictions. On America’s 235th birthday, FIRE wishes all a very happy Independence Day!