A Reminder of Freedom

by Sean Fitzpatrick '04

Each year, Americans sit on their lawn or congregate at the town center to watch the fireworks show, and yet we often forget about the great sacrifice that we celebrate on the Fourth of July and the freedom that the fireworks represent.

It was 1773 when a group of angry American colonists gathered in the Boston Harbor. The British crown had ordered a blockade on the harbor until the colonists paid the full amount of the taxes due on tea. In protest to the tax, the colonists dressed as Mohawk Indians, climbed aboard a British tea ship, and dumped 342 containers of tea into the ocean.

The British responded with the Intolerable Acts to put an end to the colonists’ rebellion. The Intolerable Acts increased Britain's control in the colonies, forced the Massachusetts colony to pay the remainder of the tax due on tea, and required the citizens to reimburse the East India Company for the tea that was dumped in the harbor. This protest, led by Samuel Adams, marked a significant moment in the early stand for freedom.

Just two years later in early 1775, Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” and on April 19, 1775, the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in the Lexington town center.

With the war in full swing, the representatives of the Continental Congress met to approve an official declaration of independence from Britain. Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed by the colonies’ representatives on July 4, 1776.

It is the signing of this historic document, and our nation’s declaration of freedom from the British crown that is cause for celebration on this day by lighting up the sky with bursting fireworks.

APU wishes everyone a Happy Fourth of July.