It seems like today just came up fast and I don't have any plans for the Fourth of July. I actually spent the afternoon in deep-nap mode (in my opinion, not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon). There's no BBQ on the agenda. I don't even think there are fireworks in town this year, though I might be wrong about that. Either way, the weather's not great and I really hate loud noises (not joking).
- a "patriotic" breakfast of wafffles topped with red and blue berries and a dab of whipped cream (sounds yummy, but I only read this after lunch).
- Make your own parade down your street with your neighbors. (Again, drizzly weather)
- Watch 1776
- Buy fireworks (which are now legal to purchase in Maine, but are still too loud). (p.83-84)
I didn't go for any of those suggestions. But I did follow through on this one.
At the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Declaration of Independence is read aloud on July Fourth. It may sound corny, but it's thrilling. The measured cadences and ringing phrases were authored by some of the greatest writers in the English language (Thomas Jefferson, among others) and were intended to be declared out loud. Start this stirring tradition at your annual picnic - you'll be glad you did.
Well, I'm not having an annual picnic, but that didn't stop me from downloading (for free) the Declaration of Independence on my Kindle and reading it out loud to myself in bed (for the win!).
I'm assuming that I read through it in elementary school, but I'd definitely forgotten everything but the "we hold these truths to be self-evident" part.
I didn't remember it being so bold. And yet polite. At the beginning, the signors state that they're issuing this declaration (in a way) to be polite. That, considering they're separating political bonds between America and England, they should probably list the reasons why. That's fair, right?
And, boy. They have good reasons. They list a bunch: you wouldn't allow us to be represented in legislature, you're taxing us unfairly, and some other reasons that I can't quite understand from my newbie-political brain, but seemed to be unjust and sticking in their craw.
They stated that, should the people decide, it's their right and their duty to walk away from political bonds that do not suit their Safety and Happiness (I love how these abstractions were capitalized back then).
I read it out loud and it was pretty exciting. So what if I took a nap right after; it wasn't the Declaration of Independence that did it to me (believe it.) but the beasty sun that beat on me all day yesterday.
In reading, I realized that the signors created the ultimate "Dear John" letter to the King of England. Except, rather than trying to soften the blow by saying "you know, it's our fault," they listed all the reasons why it was the King's fault (with dignity and clarity).
I've been through a break-up (who hasn't?) and they're usually chocked-full with emotionally ugly moments. I pictured the signors chewing their nails, vacillating between bravado over their boldness and fear over what would happen next.
But, as is usually the case with moving on, everything worked out okay. They were empowered by their Declaration and shared affirmations of liberty; their community of fresh minds (open to new ideas) helped them create a nation.
I need to read out loud in bed more often.
Any suggestions for what should be next?