Generally, we celebrate the Day of Independence in a grand manner. Parades, fireworks, red/white/blue everywhere! And rightfully, too, considering that there was a time when it looked like the plan for independence would fail, were it not for very persistent and dedicated men and women who could envision the dream, and worked and fought extremely hard to accomplish the goal.
The signing of the Declaration of Independence, considered the birthday of the Nation, was only the beginning. Now the Colonists were resolved to bring Independence to fruition, with a long war ahead. The war still on two years later, General George Washington celebrated the 4th "with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute." Nothing more, nothing less. I can imagine him sitting quietly with his men, maybe listening to gun shot in the distance, maybe around a camp fire after a long, arduous day, maybe looking up at the stars and thinking of Mount Vernon, his beloved home.
The Fourth of July should also be a time of reflection. Just as George honored his men, we too should remember those who are keeping us free. Personally, I know someone who is in Afganistan right now, a fine person who I'm sure would rather be at a festive barbeque tomorrow. It can't be easy, but he is there for us all. Let us remember to say a special prayer for our military tomorrow as we lift a glass and cheer the bright lights in the sky!