By Michelle Hazekamp
July 4, 2023
247 Years of Independence & Freedom!
From 1776 to the present, the 4th of July has been celebrated as the birth of America's Independence from England, and this year marks her 247th birthday. Once again, the Muskegon County GOP rose to the occasion at the White Lake Independence Day Parade in patriotic style to put on display our patriotism and show gratitude to our heroic Founding Fathers who secured the freedoms that make us great!
White Lake Independence Day Parade
The White Lake Independence Day Parade was heavily crowded with most dressed in red, white & blue with children lined along the streets, eating popsicles and anxiously awaiting their candy delivery from parade participants. God graced us with bright sunshine, warm weather and hundreds of cheerful faces. The GOP had a great response from the crowd as we passed by, receiving many cheers and "thumbs up" gestures. It was a very encouraging crowd to uplift our spirits in light of exhausting work we have put in the last couple of years towards defending our freedoms.
Little Desire for Indpendence
It's hard to conceive that most colonist did not desire independence from the tyranny of Britain when the Revolutionary War broke out in April, 1775. However, when hostilities with Britain escalated, favor towards independence grew quickly and was further influenced by the writings of Thomas Paine in his "Common Sense" pamphlets whereby he laid out sensible reasons for deliverance from the Monarchy that helped to sway public opinion.
First of it's Kind
On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies signed the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, that would eventually become one of the greatest documents in history leading to a new nation & government the world had never yet experienced. This new nation would become the first of its kind, and by the grace of God, has succeeded for 247 years.
Mock Funerals for the King
Early celebrations involved holding mock funerals for King George III as a way of symbolizing the liberation of Monarchy, along with concerts, parades, the firing of cannons & muskets, and public readings of the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia was the first annual commemoration of Independence on July 4, 1777, while still being occupied with the ongoing war. Today we do not participate in mock funerals or fire cannons, as this has transitioned into family gatherings and grand firework displays, yet concerts and parades are some traditions that have stood the test of time.
Most Prized Possession
The Declaration of Independence is America's most prized possession, Below are a few quotes from our Founding Fathers and the document itself that will give some insight into their hearts & mindset during discussions on the matter:
1. "We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must hang together." — John Hancock
2. "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." — Declaration of Independence
3. "The dons, the bashaws, the grandees, the patricians, the sachems, the nabobs, call them by what names you please, sigh and groan and fret, and sometimes stamp and foam and curse, but all in vain. The decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal liberty than has prevailed in other parts of the earth must be established in America." — John Adams
4. "The flames kindled on the 4th of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them." — Thomas Jefferson
5. "We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." — Declaration of Independence
6. "Let us prepare for the worst. We can die here but once." — Abraham Clark
7. "But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776 (the day the Continental Congress approved a resolution for independence), will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America." — John Adams
8. "Adams, remarking the difficulty with which the resolution of independence was passed, said it was like getting thirteen clocks to strike at the same instant." — Garry Wills
9. "Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants?" — Benjamin Rush
10. "Let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them." — Thomas Jefferson
11. "I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost." — Frederick Douglass
12. "Advice is received that the congress resolved upon independence the 4th of July; and, it is said, have declared war against Great Britain in form." — London Chronicle
13. "May the foundation of our new constitution, be justice, Truth and Righteousness. Like the wise Mans house may it be founded upon those Rocks and then neither storms or tempests will overthrow it." — Abigail Adams
The Muskegon County GOP hopes you had a wonderful 2023 Independence Day and we thank all those who sacrifice their time & treasure to help us in preserving our freedoms & liberties!
For archives on the Declaration of Independence and to learn more,
Michelle Hazekamp is a Muskegon County Commissioner, Communications Chair for the Muskegon County GOP, 3rd Congressional District Secretary, Delegate & business owner. Michelle graduated from Grand Valley State University with a bachelorette of Science and a minor in History.