In between the fireworks, auto and furniture sales, and barbecues, take a few minutes today to read the Declaration of Independence and the remarkable Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which came along 11 years later:
If you are an American citizen, thank your lucky stars for those 56 guys who signed the Declaration in Philadelphia in 1776 and started this thing rolling.
While you are at it, give extra thanks for the First Amendment, which guarantees five fundamental rights, which you can remember with the mnemonic RAPPS: religion, assembly, press, petition, and speech.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two giants in American history - friends, then opponents, and finally friends again - both died on this day in 1826. As I get older, I think less of Jefferson and more of Adams. Both were great men, but the former 'talked the talk' and didn't always 'walk the walk' (e.g., slavery) whereas the latter tried to do both.
Enjoy the day, and enjoy RAPPS!
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." -- Declaration of Independence
"...a Republic, if you can keep it." -- Benjamin Franklin, at the end of the Constitutional Convention, when asked, "What have you wrought?"