"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch 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 shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
- John Adams to his wife Abigail
Adams's prediction was off by two days. From the outset, we celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.