Soon we will be celebrate Fourth of July on the coast of North Carolina. The tents selling fireworks are dotted along the roadside, the farmers markets are in full swing with watermelons, sweet corn, squash and tomatoes. All of the beach shops are crowded with tourists making their summer beach towel, sand pails and umbrella purchases. There is a strong scent of coconut oil in the air. The flags and bunting are already up!
As we begin our patriotic pilgrimage through the Fourth, with flags flying, picnics and family, we are going to take a few moments to remember why we celebrate the holiday.
More than a year after the start of the American Revolution, the legal separation of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain ocurred when Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence. The resolution stated that the thirteen colonies currently at war were now independent states and no longer under the rule of King George. The Declaration of Independence, a formal statement explaining that decision, was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. A majority of delegates did not sign the document on July 4th, most signed on August 2nd, 1776.
There were a number of state and local declarations that took place prior to July 4th, 1776. North Carolina was the first to explicitly authorize its delegates to vote for independence, in a document called the Halifax Resolves, on April 12th, 1776.
The flag of the United States now has thirteen stripes, representing the original thirteen colonies. Fifty stars, one for each of the fifty states. The colors of the flag have meaning as well. Red represents hardiness and valor, White symbolizes purity and innocence and Blue, vigilance, perserverance and justice. Betsy Ross is credited with sewing the first flag.
So, wherever you are over the Fourth of July, salute the flag, say a prayer for our military men and women and thank your lucky stars! Enjoy!