Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 2, 2014

GLYNN: It's a little late to start shooting off fireworks

Why all the fuss over the Fourth of July? 

According to an always reliable source — the National Geographic News —if we’re celebrating Independence Day on Friday, it will be two days too late.

Writer and researcher Brian Handwerk notes that among the time-honored tales in American history there is often more fiction than fact. He points out that the Second Continental Congress actually voted for a Declaration of Independence on July 2, 1776. For the record, no one signed the historic document during that month in ‘76, Handwrek says, adding that the signing started Aug. 2 with John Hancock’s famous scribble, and the signatures weren’t finished until late November.

John Adams’ letter to his wife in those days offers proof that all of us are probably parading our freedom on the wrong date. Adams suggested to his wife: “I am apt to believe that (July 2, 1776) will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”

In all fairness to the nation’s second president, he did correctly predict that the subsequent anniversaries would be highlighted with outdoor shows, sports, bells and bonfires, among other attractions. Obviously, in that era, the colonies hadn’t yet started smuggling firecrackers.

One incredible episode involving the Fourth of July is the death of two presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Both of them passed away on July 4, 1826, just 50 years after they had signed the Declaration of Independence. 

•••

‘THIS JUST IN...’ : Niagara Falls native Tom Darro, a veteran broadcaster and longtime host of the popular WJJL radio program “Viewpoint,” will be honored at a dinner July 16 at the Como Restaurant.

Darro, who started working as a teenager for a local station here in 1964, also spent some 20 years as a public relations director for the former Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. In that post, Darro traveled extensively across the U.S., promoting Niagara as a world-class destination. In the 1970s, he worked closely with the Miss USA Pageant officials, when the competition was held for three years at the new Niagara Falls Convention Center.

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