Originally Published: July 9, 2001 7 p.m.
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival...
"It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore."
Sounds like a mayoral proclamation, doesn't it? Well, it was – sort of, but not one from modern-day. No, those are the words that John Adams spoke after signing the Declaration of Independence.
Seems the founders of this nation considered Independence Day an important occasion for rejoicing.
Tomorrow is the birthday of the United States of America, and the anniversary of the day on which the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Something you don't know...
How about the fact that the first Independence Day celebration was on July 8 in Philadelphia, not July 4.
Also, in the early days, Americans celebrated it with fireworks and the firing of guns and cannons. And, to no one's surprise, many people died of injuries as a result.
Further, laws making those acts of celebration are not contemporary. No, as early as 1810 cities and towns saw that people should not indiscriminately shoot guns or such into the air.
To think the Arizona Legislature considered a similar law only a few years ago.
And, yes, they approved it.
The state may be a little behind the times, but not Prescott.
The Fourth of July also saw the birth of something very American – "cowboy contests."
Your own Prescott Frontier Days rodeo – the "World's Oldest Rodeo" – was born on July 4, 1888. Yet, to my surprise, I ran into three people this past weekend who said they have yet to attend one of the shows – even though they have lived here more than 20 years.
It's a grand show that features the world's best cowboys (and cowgirls) testing their skills against nature (the animals) and time.
What those folks can do atop kickin', snortin' beasts is simply amazing.
Tomorrow's show starts at 1:30 p.m. at the Yavapai County Rodeo Grounds.
I can't write about Independence Day without mentioning the flag.
She has flown in peace and in war. Americans revere her, yet some people have burned her.
So many have fought and died to protect her, the red stripes could easily have been dyed with blood.
She is to be respected.
She is a symbol...
And of freedom.
Forever shall she wave.
Have a happy Fourth of July.
PARTING SHOT – "We ought to commemorate it as the day of deliverance, with solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty." John Adams (1735-1826)