Following the Founding Fathers’ Advice

By on 27 June, 2012 in Fun, Holidays, Karren Pell with 0 Comments

My mother used to say “Hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July,” and she had never been to Alabama.

Nonetheless, the adage is a good description of the weather in good old Montgomery for our nation’s independence celebration. The long range forecast predicts temperatures close to 100 degrees, high humidity and only a hint of mercy in “partly cloudy.” Although Montgomery’s downtown/riverside offerings do not yet include swimming spots, options abound for cool, refreshing “watering holes” and entertainment. Downtown is definitely the happening place to be for fun the entire Fourth of July weekend.

Before I begin to suggest activities for fun and frolic for the Fourth, I’d like to share some facts concerning Independence Day. First of all, the legal separation of the United States from Britain, the vote that approved independence, occurred on the Second of July 1776. John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail:

The second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America … It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations

Well, John, we got the date wrong, but we do our best regarding the revelries over 200 years later. July 4 is the day that Congress approved the official Declaration of Independence, primarily written by Thomas Jefferson. You know, the one that begins, “When in the course of human events,” and continues, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. . . that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness.”

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as founding fathers had much in common, in addition to signing the document. They both became president, and both died on the same day — the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence — July 4, 1826. In fact, John Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives.” However, he got that date wrong too — Jefferson had died earlier that day. Let’s see which suggestions Adams made for observing Independence Day might be observed here in Montgomery and, while we are at it, continue to pay homage to Jefferson’s eloquence.

Here In Montgomery, we are patriotic and fun loving — “To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.” Adams suggests “pomp and parade.” Well, I don’t know about pomp, and the only parade I am sure of is the customers participating in the Riverfront Pub Crawl on July 2, but all the fun establishments downtown will be open on the Fourth. So, since we have “full power to . . establish Commerce and to do all other Acts and Things,” let the parade begin! Adams then lists games, sports, and shows. Sure enough, the Biscuits play that evening as part of the big celebration featuring the Capitol Sounds Concert Band and the Montgomery Chorale — check, check, and check! In addition, these activities certainly provide for “the pursuit of happiness.” Adams also lists bells, guns, and illuminations. The Max spectacular fireworks show will certainly light up the sky, sound like many a gun, and might make your ears ring!

So there you have it — it’s all happening in Midtown/Downtown on the Fourth of July. Both Adams and Jefferson would be delighted, I am sure. Friends and family will gather, enjoy good food, great drinks, share fun and entertainment, and celebrate our great nation’s beginnings. And in the midst of the revelry, I hope there will be a time when we can add our voices to those in 1776 : “. . .for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor. “

Have a Happy Fourth!

Karren Pell is a writer, teacher, and performer who lives with her husband, Tim Henderson, and an assortment of cats and dogs in Capitol Heights. She is the author of three books. Her musical compositions range from commercial songs to theatrical works, with five musical adaptations to her credit.

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