We love fireworks. So we were looking forward to seeing some on your Independence Day, July 2. What happened?

July 2? Oh, you must mean the date when the Second Continental Congress declared that the “United Colonies” were “free and independent states” and their connection to Great Britain “is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.” The Lee Resolution, as it’s known, was adopted July 2, 1776. John Adams, in a letter to his wife, Abigail, predicted that July 2 would be “the most memorable epoch in the history of America” and would 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.”

Adams failed to reckon, however, with Thomas Jefferson, whose “Declaration of Independence” explained why the colonies were breaking free. Its breathtaking language told of “the Course of human events,” our “inalienable rights” as people, and the reason we have governmentswhich is to keep our rights secure. That’s what’s worth remembering every year. Jefferson’s declaration was adopted by the Continental Congress July 4, 1776.