I marveled aloud as I worked on my party favor for our Independence Day gathering. I am quite fond of learning details of the lives of our founders…and I pondered that I was using essentially the same tools and methods to create my gift that Paul Revere used in his shop. I usually write a poem to commemorate the day, but this year I made my poetry out of metal and color. As I pounded the copper into a formed, flat piece I listened to the high pitched strike. And imagined how different the noises of commerce were on those insufferably hot days in Philadelphia when that diverse group in the Continental Congress decided to pledge their belongings and their sacred honor to the cause of Independence. I heard cars zipping by and they would have heard the clip clop of horses on cobblestones.
John Adams noted in his diary on the 2nd of July…after he and most of his compatriots had signed the document…that he imagined this day would forever be celebrated with gatherings and festivities, parades and illuminations. And on that count, as in so many of his other imaginings, he was absolutely correct. We celebrate on the 4th because that is the date on the document – the day it was formalized. But the large portion of those signers had done their work, dipped their pen and cast their lot in with the Revolutionaries by the 2nd.
So on this day – I like to re-read the Declaration. Take stock of what those men and their families will willing to lose for the sake of what we enjoy today. I also re-read the Constitution and allow myself to again be dazzled by their language and thoughtful prescience. Such an old document still stands the test of a country that has evolved beyond what they had been able to suppose.
I am honored to earn my living by the craft of my hands and my thinking. And I was especially pleased to create something that had an element in common with one of our founders. Happy Independence Day. Enjoy these quotes which I have complied to celebrate July 4.
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.
– Charles A. Beard, 1874 – 1948
It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, independence now and independence forever.
– Daniel Webster, eulogy for John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, 2 August 1826
When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.
– Martin Luther King, Jr, 1929 – 1968
I often warn people: Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’
– George Carlin, 1937 – 2008
America, in the assembly of nations, has uniformly spoken among them the language of equal liberty, equal justice and equal rights. John Quincy Adams, 1767 – 1848, 6th President of the United States
The truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought. Samuel Adams, 1722 – 1803
Let us dare to read, think, speak and write. John Adams, 1735 – 1826
To disagree with anybody or anything is to run the risk of taking oneself out of the money. All this is a country that was born of controversy – a country that wrote controversy into its Constitution, and set up its legislative bodies on the theory of controversy, that established its free press in the belief that controversy is vital to information, and that created s system of justice of which controversy is the heart and soul. E.B.White – 1899, author, editor of the New Yorker