If you happened to get a jump-start on Independence Day patriotism by displaying your flag on Tuesday, July 2, history is on your side. Sort of.
In a letter to his wife, Abigail, no less an authority than John Adams predicted that July 2 — not July 4 — would be commemorated as the anniversary of the legal separation of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain in 1776.
But, following the practice of their first Commander in Chief, veterans of American Legion Post No. 432 will sponsor Cambria’s traditional celebration today, July 4, at Shamel Park. A full day of fun, food, live music and fireworks is scheduled.
Sarah Smith will sing the National Anthem during opening ceremonies at 11 a.m., and fireworks conclude the event at 9 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
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So why debate the date? Adams wrote that July 2 “will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival” because the Second Continental Congress voted on that date to issue a resolution of independence.
But the declaration document, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and subjected to some revision (or, as Jefferson put it, “mutilation”), was not adopted in its final form until two days later. It’s that later date that, during the American Revolutionary War, General George Washington marked, starting in 1778, with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute.
With that kind of politically smart largesse it’s easy to understand why Washington was unanimously elected to become the nation’s first president in 1789. Adams had to wait another eight years.
American Legion officials remind residents that the fireworks show costs approximately $11,000. Food purchases and contributions help ensure that fireworks continue at future July 4 celebrations and fund more than two dozen other community service projects, including multiple scholarships for high school seniors and sponsoring students for Boys State, Girls State and Special Athletes.
“We hope every Cambrian participates,” a Legion spokesperson said. “And if any of your local friends are Brits, it’s okay to bring them along.”
Shamel Park, 5455 Windsor Blvd., Cambria
11 a.m. Opening ceremonies (flag raising, singing of the National Anthem)
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Music by “Stellar”
All day Lions Club Bounce House
1 p.m. Swimming pool opens
1 p.m. Waiter and waitress race
2 p.m. Linn’s pie eating contest (enter at www.linnsfruitbin.com or call 927-1499)
3 p.m. Prize drawings
3 to 5 p.m. Music by “Held for Ransom”
5:30 to 9 p.m. Music by “Rough House”
9 p.m. Fireworks show