The annual celebration of our nation’s independence needs a rebranding. The phrase “Fourth of July” conjures up images of barbecues, sparklers and Martha Stewart handcrafting her own red, white, and blue picnic table out of wood she grew and cut herself in her backyard. This is all fine imagery, but “Independence Day” conveys much more pomp and excitement. It really should be used more frequently than Fourth of July.
John Adams said, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival…it ought to be solemnized 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.” John Adams managed to work pomp into his celebration, and we should do the same. The guns we can do without, and bells can get old really quickly, but we should be all about the pomp, parades, bonfires and illuminations. How often do we get to work pomp into our day?
Note to the reader: John Adams was not confused or mistaken; the second day of July is mentioned because that was the day Congress approved a break from the crown. We celebrate on the fourth because that is when the actual Declaration of Independence was approved.
So no more Fourth of July. This holiday is getting a rebranding beginning right now and we will make Independence Day part of our holiday lexicon from this point forward. After all, people don’t say to each other, “Merry December 25th!” or “Happy Last Thursday in November!” You don’t hear reports announcing, “Local police will have DUI checkpoints at all major intersections on January First’s Eve.” Car dealers don’t have Last Monday in May sales, and nobody says, “Have a good September Sixth Weekend.” Not one single person in the country says, “Hey, have a nice Eight Days Beginning on December Second.” It’s true that celebrating Cinco de Mayo has gained popularity thanks to the fine people at Corona, but that’s an entirely different case and completely understandable. Cinco de Mayo sounds more festive and fun than the Fifth of May. But we draw the line at commemorating a civil rights leader on Third Monday in January Day or dressing in costume for the Thirty-First of October. We just won’t do it. So, join us, if you wish, in celebrating the spirit of independence with great pomp and excitement. Or, just have a nice First Thursday in July.