Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

This week marks the anniversary of the independence of the United States. Eight years ago, my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Europe and we were going through a British border station on the 4th of July and were delighted to be wished a wry "Happy Independence Day!" by the very English guard. In honor of this wonderful holiday, I think it is apt to remember John Adam's famous words regarding this special day:

The fourth day of July "will be the most memorable Epocha, 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 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. you will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even although We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not." (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784)

John Adam's words, as is so often the case, continue to be so relevant today. As our country struggles financially, spiritually, and politically it is worth looking back and trying to learn lessons from those who came before us and faced similar challenges. Adams wrote this on the eve of going to war with England, one of the mightiest countries on earth at the time. He knew that this declaration would have to be defended at great cost, human and otherwise. While we are facing numerous challenges as a nation today, it is good to place them within a historical narrative to help see them in their proper context. Yes, times are difficult, but we live in an extremely blessed nation and are part of a global community that has never been so wealthy, so prosperous, or so free. So often this is lost in the 24 hour news cycle and it is important to remember. I think that this is why the study of history is so essential today. It provides background and helps us understand our small place in the world. It provides contrast as well as direction. So, on this 4th of July, I think it would be a great time to stop, look back to our founding, and give thanks. Just as Adams saw the the 4th should first be marked by "solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty" so should we take time to recognize his goodness. I have a feeling that if our political discourse and policy could be directed more by gratitude than by fear we would go a long way in solving the problems that seems so outsized and insurmountable. 

For those of you wanting to learn more about the history of America, I highly recommend our newest title: A Child's First Book of American History. One of our lovely customers, Kathy, had this to say about it:
After reading through V.M. Hillyer's books, "A Child's History of the World" and "A Child's Geography of the World" I began searching for a book written on the topic of American history in a similar format. I did find a book titled “The Rainbow Book of American History,” by Earl Schenck Miers which fit the bill. However, the book had gone out of print. Thanks to Beautiful Feet Books, this literary gem is back in print for future generations to enjoy. To begin with the book has a new name, “A Child’s First Book of American History.” The book’s layout has been revised, and the color illustrations by James Daughtery are bolder and brighter thanks to modern technology. “A Child’s First Book of American History” is a storybook, written in a narrative format with the author telling his children the story of our country. The book covers the time period from Leif Erickson to the dropping of the atomic bomb of World War II. To enhance the text James Daughtery has created memorable illustrations to aid the narrative. “A Child’s First Book of American History” is a wonderful way to introduce your child to the people, places and events which have molded and shaped our nation.
To learn more about it, click here.
A very happy Independence Day from all of us at BFB! We hope you can spend time watching and participating in "Pomp and Parade" with family and friends. And if you're looking for some books about the founding of our country, we have many wonderful selections on our website. Check them out here!

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