When we think about Independence Day, our minds recall the blackness of night broken up with bursts of red, white, and blue. We celebrate our independence with music, parties, and fireworks, dreaming about what it must have been like for Sir Francis Scott Key to watch bombs burst in air all along the American shoreline. What would it have been like to wait through the night to see if the American troops had held their ground? And what swelling would he have felt to see the banner still flying high come morning.
Battle torn with every odd against us, there was nothing to say we’d last through the night. We surprised the world at dawn when our banner still waived atop the fortress—proving to the world that we were immovable in freedom. Surely, that is the image of the origin of Independence Day that we remember.
This imagery well captures the patriotic feelings we each carry towards our country. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate our independence.
The only problem is that the Fourth of July does not honor this fateful day remembered in our national anthem. Sir Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” in early September during the war of 1812. When we envision his experience just outside of Baltimore, we witness a scene that happened nearly 36 years after the fateful events remembered by Independence Day.
July 4, 1776 was just another day for the colonists. It wasn’t the final battle of the revolutionary war. No English ships turned tail with their troops to head back home in defeat. The revolutionary war was just a year in and it was like any other day in war time.
The events of this day were solemn and private, held in the company of a limited number of people. The thing that made the date noteworthy was that the country’s founding fathers ratified the Declaration of Independence during the Second Continental Congress on July 4,1776.
It was only the second meeting of its kind. The first established because the founding fathers refused to be taxed without representation in England, seeing it as a form of tyranny. Since the government refused to hear their complaints, the congress met again in 1776 to sign the declaration of their independence from tyranny.
This is the scene we celebrate every Fourth of July. That is the event we must remember along with the great battles that made our independence possible. The blood and courage of our fathers’ generation made the Declaration of Independence possible. Combine that with the unwavering loyalty of all the sons and daughters that followed and we’ve made America the strongest symbol of freedom that the world has ever known. That’s a symbol worth celebrating this year. That’s a memory worth the focus of every American.
So as you set off the fireworks, bring in your family and enjoy the splendid reminder of our independence and those who gave their lives defending it. Celebrate that fateful day when a few well placed votes changed the pages of history forever.