The famed signing of the
Declaration of Independence
actually took place well after it was
written, approved and read in public.
The Continental Congress approved
its wording on July 2, 1776. It was
on July 4th that the delegates from
the colonies voted to accept it and
declare America’s independence
from Great Britain. On July 8, 1776 the Declaration was read in
public for the first time, outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
Its reading was accompanied by the ringing of the Liberty Bell. A
parchment copy, written in script, was signed by the members of
Congress on August 2, 1776. You’ll see the original of this national
treasure when you visit the National Archives in Washington D.C.
On July 3, the day following its approval by Congress, John
Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, the following: I am apt to believe
that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great
anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of
Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. 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.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm but I am not. — I am
well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to
maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. —
Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and
glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and
that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even although
we should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.
As we remember to act on John Adam’s prediction that
Independence Day would be celebrated with fireworks, let us also
do as he suggested in offering often our thanks to God for our
liberty, with what he called solemn acts of devotion to God.
An independent Baptist church.