The Week: What Caught Our Eye

July 3, 2021

A girl waving an American flag by a lake with fireworks in the sky, and text that reads "Happy Independence Day"Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

Are we late or early in celebrating Independence Day?

John Adams would say late. He insisted the date was July 2. And he had a point: The Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, when it voted to approve a resolution submitted by delegate Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, declaring “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” Amazing, now, to think of the special political, diplomatic, cultural and economic relationship that exists between the United States and the United Kingdom.

To his wife, Abigail, Adams wrote presciently: “I am apt to believe that (Independence Day) will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival… It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade with shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

After voting on independence on July 2, the Continental Congress needed to draft a document explaining the decision to the public. It had been proposed in draft form by the Committee of Five (John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson) and it took two days for the Congress to agree on revisions.

Ultimately, Congress approved the actual Declaration of Independence document on July 4 and ordered that it be sent to a printer named John Dunlap. About 200 copies of the “Dunlap Broadside” were printed. Today, 26 copies remain.

John Hancock was the first signer, 55 followed. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at 70. There were 2.5 million people living in the country at the time.

By an extraordinary coincidence, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only two signatories of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as presidents of the United States, both died on the same day: July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, James Monroe, another Founding Father who was elected as president, also died on July 4, 1831, making him the third President who died on the anniversary of independence. The only U.S. president to have been born on Independence Day was Calvin Coolidge, who was born on July 4, 1872.

And one more conversation-starter for your holiday barbecue: Americans will consume 150 million hot dogs this weekend, but who’s counting?

In the wonderful witty words of Erma Bombeck:

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”

Happy Independence Day, everybody!

PLEASE SHARE: Feel free to pass this along to your friends and colleagues.

THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Lisa Fenwick, Troy Burns, Claire P. Tuttle, John Brodt, Tara Hutchins, Kelly Donahue, and Katie Alessi.

FACING OUT is what we do. We help companies, organizations and individuals work effectively with their most important external audiences – their customers, their shareholders, their communities, the government and the news media.  www.behancommunications.com

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value to you, our friends and business associates. Some items are good news about our clients and friends, others are stories that we hope will leave you a bit more informed or entertained than you were five minutes ago. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. 

Let’s make it a conversationmark.behan@behancom.com

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