What is less discussed is the faith they had in the people of this great and emerging nation, people who were looked upon as “common” and “rustic” by their European counterparts, but through hard work, sacrifice and self determination, would carve out of the wilderness a nation that would, in just a few short generations, stretch from sea to shining sea.
The war for our independence was won, not by professional soldiers and generals, but by merchants, lawyers, doctors, school teachers, freed slaves, and farmers, like my 5th great grandfather who joined the Revolutionary cause in February of 1776 and brought our family to Bulloch County, Georgia after the war.
That faith in the succeeding generations can be summed up no better than by the words found in a letter that was written 234 years ago tomorrow, July 3, 1776.
After the vote for independence passed on July 2 (we don’t celebrate the vote on independence, but the signing of the Declaration which occurred two days later on July 4) future President John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail in Massachusetts:
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.- 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, Bonfire and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
At a time when the United States barely reached the Mississippi River, it took faith to one day see a nation that stretched from “one end of this continent to the other” and a nation which would last “from this time forward forever more.”
On this, the weekend we celebrate the beginning of our 235th year of liberty, let us also remember the faith that founding generation had in each of us, to continue the work they started and passed on to the following generations.
They knew that we would face struggles, and in fact no generation of Americans have passed without struggle, but they also knew that, as Americans, we would have the strength of character, the perseverance, and the determination to pass the blessings of liberty to our posterity. They also seemed to know that if any generation felt they were not up to the challenge, that America was not worth the struggle, that generation could just look back, sometimes not very far back, to the faith that their fathers carried in them.
Adams also wrote on that day, a day that saw independence declared, but not secured, “through all the gloom I can the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means.”
It is because the generations immediately before us could also see through the gloom of Communism, Fascism, and Depression that we are here today. Let us have faith in our own people so that, 100 years from now, at the beginning of the 335th year of liberty, those Americans on that day say of us that through all of the gloom of islamo-fascism, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, environmental disaster and economic struggles, we too saw the rays of ravishing light and glory. That we pushed on because we too could see the end is more than worth all the means.
This is my hope and wish for us, my fellow Americans, on this Great Anniversary Festival.
God Bless you and God bless the United States of America.