On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife, “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 solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.”
Adams was nearly correct in his prediction. Americans have indeed memorialized the Declaration of Independence as he envisioned; however, the celebrations have been on July 4th—the date written on the Declaration of Independence—instead of July 2nd, the date the Second Continental Congress adopted the resolution of independence. Today, as we celebrate the birthday of George Washington, let us salute the Founding Fathers not only for creating a great nation, but also for being the country’s first book collectors.