A letter from 1776 to remind us what the Fourth is really about

Over two hundred years ago, a group of patriots who believed in freedom and equality for all risked execution for treason in order to build a nation on the principles they believed in. This was culminated in a Declaration of Independence being signed on July 4, 1776.

And 233 years ago today, a man who would one day become president wrote a letter to his wife Abigail. John Adams expressed poignant thoughts about the founding of our great country, of the blood and toil it would cost to make it, and how the price was almost too great. Here is an excerpt from that letter:


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.

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You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

There are two things I want you to get out of this letter.

First and foremost is a reminder not to lose hope. I know that these are dark, troubled times for us. I know that a lot of Americans are looking at their futures and the future of this country thinking, How are we ever going to get out of this? It seems bleak, hopeless.

It’s not.

This country, no matter how hard the struggle to preserve it may be, is still worth fighting for and it can still be saved. Think about the battle that our Founding Fathers had to fight to make this country a reality. It should put things in perspective for you. Our Founders were great men and women, yes. And their greatness and wisdom should serve as an inspiration to us. What would have happened to our country had more men not stood up to follow in their footsteps, like Abraham Lincoln did? Most of the people we look at as ardent patriots are just Americans who love their country and the ideals it stands for, and wanted to keep the American dream of freedom alive. What will happen to that American dream if we become dejected and hopeless? In this generation, we need more than just Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal to step up and be the conservative voices for the wisdom expressed in our Constitution. Every single person reading this — it is your responsibility as well to defend America and her ideals. We all know that. You can do it in small ways and large ones. Some people do it by joining the military to fight to defend our rights. Some get involved in freedom-loving organizations like the NRA or the Daughters of the American Revolution. Some run for office in an effort to keep the right principles in politics. Others simply stay involved, and make their voices heard. However you choose to do it, it is your duty to defend this country, just as our Founding Fathers saw it as their duty.

Do not give up. Do not lose hope.

The other thing I want all of us to remember is just what the Fourth of July stands for. It’s more than a day for cook-outs and fireworks. It’s more than a national bank holiday. It’s more than just listening to a few patriotic country songs while you’re grilling burgers in your backyard. Remember the ideals and principles this country was founded upon. Remember the patriots who have fought and died defending those ideals and principles over the last 233 years. Give thanks to God that you were so blessed to be born and to live in the greatest country that this world has ever seen. That’s what the Fourth of July is truly about. Be unashamedly patriotic every day, and not just on the Fourth… but tomorrow, be sure to take some time to reflect on what this country stands for and how much we’ve fought for and sacrificed to get where we are today.

No matter how bad things may seem, we are still the luckiest people alive. We are Americans. And I’m still proud.

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin

Cross-posted from Cassy’s blog. Stop by for more original commentary or follow her on Twitter.

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