Column by Bill Bradberry —
• The term “Independence Day” was not used until 1791
• In 1870, Independence Day was made an unpaid holiday for federal employees
• In 1941, it became a paid holiday for them
He also recalled, and I later confirmed via the internet that John Adams, in a July 3, 1776, letter to his wife Abigail was probably the first person to describe how Independence Day should be celebrated with “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations” throughout the new country, but as we may have learned in high school, and long ago forgotten, it took many more years of considerable struggle to get us where we are today.
Coincidently, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and former presidents of the United States, both died on the same day, July 4, 1826, get this, precisely 50 years after the adoption of the declaration.
I never got the gentleman’s name, the nurses wheeled him away before we finished our conversation (his lecture), but I did get the distinct impression that he enjoys the holiday as much as the rest of us, especially the parades because it reminds him of the joy and relief that comes when we are marching home from war instead of racing into it.
Happy “Fofa July”, everyone!
Contact Bill Bradberry at firstname.lastname@example.org