July 4, 2014
*The following contains highlights from the Governor’s Independence Day Sunrise Service remarks, given this morning
Since the 2nd Continental Congress approved Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence on July 2nd, 1776, John Adams told his wife Abigail that is the day our nation’s independence would likely be celebrated every year thereafter.
“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.”
While Adams’ timing was off by two days — the official Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4th, 1776 — his predictions about the nature of the celebration were spot-on.
Today, we celebrate Independence Day with parades, picnics and fireworks…. with family, friends and neighbors… and we reflect on those who have sacrificed for all we hold so dearly, and that’s important. However, we must never allow the din of celebration to drown out the memory and risk that attended the signing of that sacred document by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and the 53 others in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776.
Thanks to the courage of our nation’s founders and our brave men and women in uniform, America has thrived and become the light of liberty to the world. What the Declaration’s signers penned in ink and our soldiers have sealed in blood now inspires freedom-loving peoples around the globe.
As we gather with family and friends this Independence Day, let us not take liberty from remembering those who have made our freedoms possible. And if we, like our Founding Fathers, move forward in faith and rely ‘on the protection of Divine Providence,” I have every confidence that we, too can “declare independence” and “ensure a new birth of freedom.”
God bless the United States of America… and God bless each one of you.