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It thrills me that use of fireworks to celebrate our Independence dates to this note by John Adams to his wife Abigail:  ” … the occasion should be commemorated ‘with Pomp and Parade, with [Shows], Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.’ ”  The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777; they were all orange.

My best shots of boats and “illuminations” were here in September 2014, and

even better here in July 2012.

Since I quote Adams, here’s an engraving of him, Franklin and Admiral Lord Richard Howe meeting at the Conference House on Staten Island in September 1776. The house was built in 1680, and Christopher Billop, the resident at the time of the Revolution, was a Loyalist who fled to Canada after he was captured and imprisoned in 1779.

But I digress, thanks to Adams, we use fireworks to celebrate today.

Photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.  Engraving by Alonzo Chappel. 

 

Happy 4th of July!  Here’s the first post by this title with a story of what John Adams wrote Abigail around this time 241 years ago.

So why do we celebrate this day?  Uh . . . the British surrendered?  It marks the first battle for independence?

DDG-55 Stout  (photo taken May 20, 2015)

We got freedom to say what we want, pray to whomever we choose, buy as many guns as we want, refuse to be unreasonably searched, charged too much bail, have access to lawyers in court, and things like that?

The founders of the US signed the Declaration of Independence?

Nope!  Nope, nope.  None of those is correct.  The British didn’t surrender for another 6 years and didn’t vacate their occupation force from the sixth boro–the only boro then–until 1783.  The Constitution wasn’t written for another decade and some!!

Here’s a good quick “not fake” read for today called “9 Things You May Not Know About the  Declaration of Independence.”

I’ll get back to that . .  but what is that military gray ship over there trying to camouflage itself against Staten Island ferry orange?  I took the rest of these photos about 24 hours ago . . .   The flag at the stern is NOT US…

It’s French.  So maybe they’re here to help us  celebrate the contributions of Rochambeau, DeGrasse. and Lafayette?

Nope, they helped after 1776 . . ..  In fact the Alliance had not even existed yet for a few years .  . .

Well, maybe the crew of the French L 9032 is here to ride the NYWheel?

Nope.  That’s in some turmoil.

See the billboard there?  Maybe they’re here for “the lowest cost health plan?”

Maybe they’re here for Macy’s !!?  Rowland Hussey Macy WAS a sailor, after all;  the red Macy’s logo star was the tattoo he wore on his hand . . .

 

Actually  I have NO idea why FS Dumont D’Urville docked over at the old homeport yesterday . . .  maybe someone can illuminate us . . .?

But to get back to 4th July . . . here was the response of George III–the accused– to the Declaration:  I’d never read it until now and it’s short and precious and defensive!!

Here’s another 4 July tugster post from the archives . . .  And if you still have time to read, here are “Six things you (probably) didn’t know about the 4th July. . . .”  And the flag of that year?  Maybe here.  And the drink of choice to fete the day back then . . .?  Well, it was not beer or rum.  Rick Spilman has it here.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp, who offers another link to the big document of the day here, and wishes you a happy independence day.

 

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