Most colonists were not in favor of splitting from the British until 1776 when Thomas Paine won their hearts and minds with his revolutionary ideas expressed in the pamphlet “Common Sense.”.
On July 2, the Continental Congress passed a unanimous resolution in favor of independence from Great Britain. John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on that July 2 “This will be a day celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival“ including “pomp and parade, games, sports, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of the continent to the other.” What a party!
While he was right about the festivities the date would instead be July 4th, the day the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. As if by divine design, John Adams and the Declaration’s author Thomas Jefferson would both die on the 50th anniversary of this day. It became a federal holiday in 1870 and 85 years later the date my husband Frank would be born. He is a Yankee Doodle Dandy, born on the Fourth of July!
We as a family had double reasons to celebrate and celebrate we did! For many years (too many to count), we would pack lots of food and head for Tanglewood in the Berkshires to hear James Taylor serenade us with his sweet dulcimer tunes, dine by candlelight under the stars, drink wine, and end with a bang (Long Island’s Grucci Brothers fireworks). It was a tradition dear to our hearts. It was wonderful, yet lots of work!
Well, JT will have to carry on without us this year! Life moves on as it does, freeing us from all we have done before. Our daughters are accomplished grown-ups who now live in Austin and Charlotte. They can’t make the trip to Lloyd Harbor and to the Berkshires, too!
They will come to beautiful Lloyd Harbor where we will celebrate new traditions. We will go to the parades, play games and see brilliant fireworks along the Sound with a warm bonfire at our backs. We will revel in the freedom to reinvent ourselves. New traditions are good! We will enjoy all that our friend John Adams said we would and then some. We will celebrate Independence in lovely Lloyd Harbor with our friends, family and neighbors. And against doctors’ advice, I will eat a hot dog with everything on it. Sweet freedom for the day!
Happy Birthday America and Frank Salerno!
Mary Ellen Salerno lives in Lloyd Harbor and loves it with her husband, Frank, and dog, Ike. A transplant from New Jersey and NYC, her heart now belongs to “The Neck.”