Anyone who has read this blog since its inception in 2007 knows that I love history and that on holidays such as Independence Day I try to bring to life the event we celebrate. On past celebrations of this great day, I have referenced the great musical 1776 to emphasize patriotism and the extraordinary role in American independence by a not well remembered Virginian.
In 2008, HBO presented a spectacularly well produced and acted special event series, John Adams (see my commentary here), based on the biography by noted historian David McCullough. It is a must watch, very much well worth the rental or purchase (or perhaps your library has it for borrowing). Below, please watch the scene on the vote for “independency.” Solemn, serious, momentous. These men, many of whom suffered great personal and financial losses never to be recovered, truly pledged to each other their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” (see the famous account of their fates by Rush Limbaugh’s father). If these men cared only about power and preserving their wealth, they never would have ventured into what they were told was the folly of taking on the British. Independence meant hard work and responsibility. Life under the crown may have been inconvenient at times, but very prosperous and very comfortable.
This was no game, no passing fancy. The implications were enormous, even grave. There was no glee, nor ambition in taking this vote — a true show of leadership, taking a dazed and confused collection of colonies into mortal danger against the world’s super power of the time. Yet it had to be done. Considered rebellion and high treason by the crown, it was revolutionary only in its uniqueness — an unprecedented declaration of defiance to create among several colonies self-governing states as well as a new nation, not an overthrow of a government (thus, the “War of Independence” not the “Revolutionary War”), taken for granted now by a steady succession of nations that unburdened themselves late last century by oppressive conquerors and colonizers.
Portrayed with the solemnity the moment surely carried and with the quiet confidence these Founders embodied in its first public reading, this superb production celebrates, commemorates and encapsulates, with great reverence and accuracy, one of the world’s seminal moments. From the entire board, staff and volunteers of The Family Foundation of Virginia, best wishes for a safe, fun and reverent Independence Day.
Inspirational scene: Bringing patriotic and heroic events to life with stirring portrayals is important. Great presentations such as John Adams can motivate us to learn the true meaning of our founding, and better appreciate the sacrifices made for our country throughout history.