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 commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. 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, July 3, 1776
This was written in reference to the adoption of the Lee Resolution by the Continental Congress which gave approval to issuing a Declaration of Independence. The Declaration itself was debated on the 3rd and much of the 4th before being committed to paper late on the latter day. It would not actually be signed until August 2, 1776.
If a great American like Adams can be so wrong, I guess the mistakes of we lesser sorts can be overlooked, too. That's one thing I've always loved about this quotation in addition to its stirring prose.
Love your liberty, spare a thought for the people who defend it, enjoy your barbecue and fireworks, and have a great 4th everyone.