John Adams envisioned the day being celebrated with fireworks, parades, and massive celebrations, as Americans commemorated the day that brought them independence from Great Britain. As it turns out, Adams was right, but he got the date wrong. The date Adams had in mind was July 2, 1776. It was on that day that the Continental Congress ended its debate and approved the resolution proposed on June 7 by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia and seconded by Adams:
Resolved: 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.
Adams was exuberant. He wrote to his wife, Abigail, that evening and prophesied:
The Second Day of July 1776, 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.
As it turned out, it would be two more days before Adams and his co-committee members, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, would complete their work on the document that was to explain to the King George III and the rest of the world why the colonies had chosen to go their own way. That document, now known as the Declaration of Independence, was formally adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Adams’ visions of fireworks, parades and celebrations proved accurate; it just took a couple of more days for it to come to pass.