The Fourth of July is my least favorite holiday. OK, I got to be honest with myself. I hate it. Not because of what it represents. The Declaration of Independence. Our founding fathers. Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable--- as Daniel Webster put it. No, it's because of the barbaric way many Americans celebrate it. The irresponsible detonating of fireworks, the cherry bombs, the loss of an eye, the blown-off finger, the 3rd-degree burns. I imagine Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and the rest of that illustrious group of demigods who mutually pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor would not be amused by our communal war zones and the reckless mayhem that pass as celebration today . They would be disgusted and disheartened that liberty has degenerated into such gross license.
In a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams visualized a different scenario. "I am apt to believe 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 in Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
No mention of illegal explosives. No mention of ear-shattering noise. No mention of police who wink at the breaking of the law and even openly flout it themselves. The ordinances against people blasting off the equivalent of dynamite that are more honored in the breach than the observance.
Adams put God at the top of his list of celebratory modes. God bless America on this Fourth of July. And may He forgive us for not having the wisdom to celebrate it in a civilized way , duly respecting the rights and safety of our fellow Americans, especially the most vulnerable, our children.