Today, on the Fourth of July, I'd like us all to join in a celebration of the separation of the Thirteeen Colonies from Great Britain which occurred on July 2, 1776.
Yes, that's right. The colonies that would later go on to form the United States first became legally independent on July 2, not July 4. That is why John Adams wrote to his wife to say:
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.
Nobody actually celebrates the day the colonies became independent though. Instead, they celebrate the day the Declaration of Independence was "signed," July 4. I put the word signed in parenthesis because while the document says July 4 on it, historians can't agree whether or not it was actually signed on that day. But we sure can celebrate on it!
Just not on July 2, the day the country actually became independent. Because screw days when things that matter actually happened.
Oh well. Fireworks!