For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail? ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Is American Independence over when the last Fourth of July rocket dies in the darkness? Independence ascends stage by stage, from its infancy in political freedom, on toward a vigorous youth of material and economic emancipation, while the Delectable Mountains of the future beckon us to a national maturity… ~W.J. Cameron, 1937
That which distinguishes this day from all others is that then both orators and artillerymen shoot blank cartridges. ~John Burroughs
Hail! Independence, hail! Heaven’s next best gift,
To that of life and an immortal soul!
~James Thomson, Liberty, A Poem, 1734 [Scottish poet. Of British freedom. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]
What was that cluster of stars that fell with a sudden hiss into the blue waters of the bay. A sky-rocket? True—it is time for the fireworks to commence; and now we shall have the really brilliant phase of the festivities of this day of jubilee. Bang! bang! bang!… Turn an ear to the city, and the noise is terrific. Glance along the vista; how the little shooting-crackers sparkle and coruscate, as if the stars had condescended to come upon earth, and have a regular jolly row, just for the fun of the thing. ~Henry Howard Paul, “Fourth of July in the United States,” 1851
All we have of freedom, all we use or know —
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
~Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899
It is a queer custom, this setting-off of fireworks, but it is observed in many countries; among others, in England on the Fifth of November, in China on New Year’s Day, and in South America on all suitable and unsuitable occasions. ~William H. Rideing, “Fire-Crackers and the Fourth of July,” 1874
Wake her with the voice of cannon—give her colors to the morn!
Make the day right glorious that saw the nation born;
Born to a life supernal, like the bird of storied fame—
From the ashes of dead empires springs her altar’s sacred flame.
~Elizabeth M. Griswold, “The Nation’s Birthday,” in Spring and Summer School Celebration, edited by Alice M. Kellogg, 1895
The United States is the only country with a known birthday. All the rest began, they know not when, and grew into power, they know not how…. There is no “Republican,” no “Democrat,” on the Fourth of July, — all are Americans. ~James Gillespie Blaine
To the sages who spoke—to the heroes who bled—
To the day, and the deed—strike the harpstrings of glory!
Let the song of the ransom’d remember the dead,
And the tongue of the eloquent hallow the story.
O’er the bones of the bold,
Be the story long told,
And on Fame’s golden tablets their triumphs enroll’d,
Who on freedom’s green hills freedom’s banner unfurl’d,
And the beacon-fire rais’d that gave light to the world.
~Charles Sprague (1791–1875), Ode for the Fourth of July, 1827, sung at the celebration in the Exchange Coffee-House in Boston
It is the love of country that has lighted and that keeps glowing the holy fire of patriotism. ~J. Horace McFarland
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