|USA bicentennial mural, Tampico, Illinois|
My remarks tonight will be brief, but it's worth remembering that all the celebration of this day is rooted in history. It's recorded that shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia celebrations took place throughout the land, and many of the former Colonists -- they were just starting to call themselves Americans -- set off cannons and marched in fife and drum parades.
What a contrast with the sober scene that had taken place a short time earlier in Independence Hall. Fifty-six men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric; each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the Crown. "We must all hang together," Benjamin Franklin said, "or, assuredly, we will all hang separately." And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity, on the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom.
But the Gipper wasn't all about business that evening. He ended his speech this way:
Now, let's have some fun -- let the celebration begin!Reagan also talked about the two Founding Fathers mostly closely connected to July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson,and his close friend, then rival, then close friend again John Adams. Both men died on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
politics history Americana Reagan Ronald Reagan Republican america usa july 4 independence day 4th of July videos on this day