Happy Birthday, America! It’s the 4th of July which we celebrate as the day America declared independence from Great Britain. But did you know that the Continental Congress didn’t declare independence on the 4th – they actually did it on July 2, 1776. It’s not the day the Revolutionary War started either – that happened back in April 1775. It wasn’t the date that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence because he did that a month earlier in June, 1776. It wasn’t even the date that it was signed – that was August 2, 1776, and it wasn’t delivered unto Great Britain until November, 1776. So why in the world do we celebrate July 4th?
Well, July 4, 1776 was the date that the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence, and became the date that was included on the “original signed copy” which can be found in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When Dunlap Broadsides printed the first copies of the Declaration of Independence for circulation, July 4, 1776 was the date they printed on it and it’s the date that people remembered. With Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both dying within five hours of each other on July 4, 1826, that date became even more associated with the founding of our country. But it wasn’t until 1870, almost 100 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed, that Congress declared July 4th to be a federal national holiday in honor of the “birthday” of our country.
Yesterday on my way home from work, I was flipping through the radio stations when I hit “talk radio.” (Steve’s favorite station) Glenn Beck was reading the Declaration of Independence. It was beautiful. It was inspiring. What vision and dreams our founding fathers had for our country. These men believed in God. They believed that God was leading them to do what they did. They felt like Solomon in Psalm 127:1, “Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” I shudder to think what the founding fathers would think of today’s America which is doing everything it can to take God out of our national conscience. But there is hope. As God told His people in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” God Bless America, Courtney