The Declaration of Independence was an unknown document by almost all Americans on the Fourth of July, 1776. It was approved at two p.m. but only those signing it at the time even knew that, despite the fact that we have celebrated its signing for all these years on the Fourth of July. It wasn’t read publicly until July 8. It was read to continental army brigades in New York on July 26. The soldiers thought so highly of the document that they toppled a statue of King George III. It is believed that the lead from that statue may have been turned into bullets.
Just one hundred years later, there were gala celebrations in Philadelphia that extended over at least three days. Susan B. Anthony took part hoorahing her Declaration of Rights for Woman’s Suffrage Association. General Sherman stopped by to review the troops, keeping in mind that the good old US of A had declared war on Turkey just the day before.
In Rhode Island, the parade of Naval vessels took place in the waters off Bristol and featured the sloop U.S. Juniata. In Washington a three-hundred-canon salute was fired, the first one hundred rounds at sunrise, the second one hundred at noon, and the final one hundred at sunset. That had to have been impressive.
It wasn’t all gayety in 1876, since the end of the Civil War was just a few years before this. In Hamburg, South Carolina an uprising by angry whites led to the massacre of many blacks.
Ten thousand people marched in a four-mile parade in San Francisco, while in Chicago a bunch of socialists read from a revised declaration of independence. One particular highlight from 1876 was thirty veterans of the War of 1812 marching with two of Napoleon’s soldiers in Utica, New York.
Jumping another one hundred years through the pages of history to 1976 we find Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution, in Boston Harbor firing her cannons for the first time in ninety-five years. Across the country, at two p.m., bells were rung in thousands of communities, signifying the time the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776.
A wagon train consisting of 2500 wagons traveled across the country and arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, while in Baltimore, a re-enactment of the bombardment of Fort McHenry took place after which celebrants enjoyed a 69,000 pound birthday cake.
In Sparks, Nevada, the James C. Lillard Railroad Park was dedicated, and in Clinton, Missouri, the Henry County Museum was dedicated.
Well, here was are in 2016, and for many of us in western Nevada, that means we’ll be taking a nice drive to Virginia City, beloved Queen of the Comstock, for a day of parades, picnics, mining contests, and one of Nevada’s best fireworks displays.
It’s the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence that most of us remember, so poignant it can lead to a full bursting of dams that hold back our tears, tears of joy that have flowed since that fateful time of two p.m., July, 4, 1776.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
For a full reading of the declaration, go here http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/
Until next time, read good books and stay regular
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