On a July 4th 235 years ago, in the early-morning hours, that representatives of England's 13 American colonies arrived at the final version of a manifesto that Thomas Jefferson had drafted in June 1776.
"Then, at last, church bells rang out over Philadelphia; the Declaration of Independence had been adopted," states the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
That night, John Dunlop printed 150 to 200 copies of the declaration as a "broadside," like a poster. Within a few days, the declaration had been published in newspapers and read in public across the 13 colonies. As publishers, we're proud of the role our industry played in this necessary act of rebellion.
"Historian Pauline Maier states that crowds in numerous cities tore down statues and signs representing British royalty," Bloomingdale sociologist George Bryjak wrote in the Enterprise last year at this time. "In New York City a statue of King George was toppled and the lead used to make musket balls."
That's the power of print, and of good, timely ideas.
While the nation born that July 4 has had plenty of valleys as well as peaks, we still love it dearly and believe there's no other country we'd rather live in.
Our United States are diverse, welcoming and respectful of differences but not of tyranny. That devotion to individual liberty should never be taken away.
Freedom is a complicated concept, since maintaining civility sometimes requires people to discipline their own sense of "I can do what I want" so it doesn't impinge on others' freedom. But Americans in general understand that complexity and are committed to maintaining a good, free society.
The importance of rules as well as respecting freedom are heightened as our area swells in population during this holiday weekend. We hope everyone respects each other's right to have a good time, whether that means passing cyclists slowly or not biking in the middle of the road, or just greeting a stranger. Small acts of kindness can make a bigger difference in everyday people's lives than you might think.
As we celebrate the anniversary of our nation's Declaration of Independence, take a moment to take a deep breath and relax. Appreciate what you have. Put your feet up, put some food on the grill, and enjoy the fireworks. Be safe, smart and kind, and have a blast on this fourth day of July.