July 4th, 2006

Filed as Features on July 4, 2006 8:22 am

For seven years, I lived with my wife in the town that I consider to be the birthplace of this great nation – Boston, Massachusetts.

For a young man who grew up in a town of only 2,400 people in the middle of Indiana, living in a large city like Boston was a heady experience. But for a man who loved history – the thought of being able to trod the steps of a town where John Hancock, Sam Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and Paul Revere once walked was nothing short of sheer joy.

DSC02002.JPG

My parents raised me to respect and love my country and its veterans – my family having had a long history of military service to our nation. This left me with a keen understanding of the sacrifices that have been made so that our nation and its people – and those of its allies – could live in freedom.

My first year in Boston – 1999 – I wandered into town to soak up the sights on July 4th. I caught the tail end of the 4th of July parade – which came to a stop in front of the original capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – the Old State house – where a Navy Captain stepped out on the balcony and introduced the commanding officer of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.

The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company is the oldest militia unit in the United States. They date from 1638 – far predating the United States. And a few days after July 4th, 1776 – when a company of the Declaration of Independence arrived in Boston.. they stood out on this same balcony and read the words for the first time in the City of Boston.

And that tradition has continued for more than two hundred years.

I stood – in awe – as the words were read – just a few yards from the site of the Boston Massacre – just a quarter mile from the graves of Hancock, Paine, and Sam Adams.. across the street from Fanueil Hall and around the corner from the Old South Meeting House.. each places where so many gatherings were held to debate whether or not to take the ultimate step.

Massachusetts has another unique holiday that I’ve found in no other place that I’ve lived. On April 19th, 1775, more than a year before the Declaration was signed, a man named Revere set out to warn the Minutemen along the path from Boston to Lexington and Concord about the pending seizure of their arms and stores by the British army.

DSC03456.JPG

At a bridge just outside of Concord they finally made a stand – and with that action – and then signing of a document by 56 men a bit over a year later – this country was born.

That day – April 19th – is celebrated annually in Massachusetts as Patriot’s Day. You know it as the day of the Boston Marathon, but for those that have visited Concord and Lexington, that day holds an entirely different meaning.

There’s much I don’t miss about Boston – the traffic, the cost of living, Senators Kennedy and Kerry, and others… but on July 4th, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.

Happy Birthday America!

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

This post was written by

You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.


Submissions & Subscriptions

Submit the post to Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg or Del.icio.us.

Did you like it? Then subscribe to our RSS feed!



  1. By Aaron Brazell posted on July 4, 2006 at 9:11 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    That’s a great bit, Matt. I think you and I are chips off the same block. Happy fourth. Did you take my quiz?

  2. By Matt posted on July 4, 2006 at 9:30 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Does 9/10 count?

    One phrase: Marbury v. Madison, now that was a court case.

  3. By Mike Sigers posted on July 4, 2006 at 10:57 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Great post Matt.

    I’ve lived in several small Indiana towns myself…Washington & New Albany to name a couple. Where exactly are you from ?

    We’re Americans by birth, but Kentuckians by the Grace of God ! I still play a lot of golf and spend some business time along the I-64 corridor in southern Indiana.

    Thanks for a great post and for the great feeling it left me with as a 6 year veteran of our Armed Services.

    May God Bless America.

  4. By Alex posted on July 4, 2006 at 1:00 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Born and Raised in Historical New York City…great post..

  5. By Betty Tindle posted on July 4, 2006 at 3:53 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Nicely done!! I was stationed at Hanscom AB many years ago, and I absolutely loved living there and being near Boston. Hanscom is in Bedford, “the shot heard round the world” took place there, the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The whole place is steeped in history and I would love to go back again! I love your post.

  6. By Matt posted on July 4, 2006 at 8:39 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Up by Ft. Wayne – very small town – like most of Indiana.

    Thanks for your service!
    Matt

  7. By Mike Sigers posted on July 5, 2006 at 2:34 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I’ve played golf at Chestnut Hills in Ft. Wayne and eaten at Don Hall’s Steakhouse over by the Holiday Inn ( I think it was a HInn ).

    Nice place in the summer..don’t want to be there in the winter though !