The fourth day of the seventh month of the year is just another day for most of the world. For Americans, the fourth day of July is Independence Day, the annual birthday of freedom. And we celebrate with hot dogs, beer, and fireworks. For most Americans, it’s just an excuse to barbeque and hang out in backyards. The best way to celebrate America’s birthday is to blow things up. Every Fourth of July, thousands of cities across the nation try to destroy the sky with an aerial bombardment of bright colors and misshapen smiley faces.
The Fourth of July is a holiday because Americans are stupid. Before the Declaration of Independence there was this thing called the resolution of independence or the Lee Resolution. On June 7, 1776, a Virginian named Richard Lee proposed that colonies should break away from the English. On June 11, 1776, A Committee of Five (Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin) got together to prepare a document detailing why they wanted independence. Only July 2, 1776 we officially declared our independence. On July 4, 1776, Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence. August 2, 1776 is when most people signed the document and the last guy signed it on November 4, 1776.
That’s kind of a watered down version of what happened, but of all those dates, July 4th seems the least likely option to become our Independence Day. John Adams thought that July 2nd would be the day we celebrated our freedom. All he did was help write the Declaration and become our first president after George Washington… what the fuck does he know about American patriotism?
So the Fourth of July is not when we declared our independence, it’s when we finished writing a note to Mom and Dad a letter saying that we were moving out. But then we didn’t sign it until a month later. Most of the world ignores the Fourth of July, and maybe we should too. Because July 2nd seems like a much more logical choice. So does August 2nd. So does June 7th or 11th. Whatever.
The spirit of this holiday is perhaps best captured by Bill Pullman in his greatest performance yet.
The Fourth of July is our Independence Day. I just don’t know why. But I’m a sheep and will go along with it like everyone else. Happy Birthday, America! Now where’s the booze?
Critically Rated at 14/17