Message on the Observance of Independence Day, 1988
June 23, 1988
The Fourth of July is much more than a date on the calendar -- it is celebrated here in the United States, and recognized around the world, as a turning point in history. No matter how many Fourths we Americans have seen, every new one revives in our hearts the pure patriotism of childhood. With each flag, with each parade and picnic and burst of fireworks, we can't help but recall the first stirrings of our deep love for America.
This year, on our Nation's 212th birthday, we recall another special anniversary, the Bicentennial of our first Independence Day under our newly ratified Constitution. In his diary entry for that date, John Quincy Adams recorded how the news of the latest State ratification was received in Boston: "(I)mmediately the bells were set to ringing, and the guns to firing again, without any mercy, and continued all the remainder of the afternoon.'' For two centuries now, the Constitution whose birth these patriots so exuberantly hailed has endured, ensuring our liberty and preserving this great Republic.
The passage of time has only brought us even more reason to celebrate. Our Founders marked the Fourth of July, uncertain that the Union would be formed; our ancestors at the time of the Civil War marked it as well, uncertain that the Union would survive; and our parents and grandparents marked it, uncertain that it would withstand the ravages of global conflict. We can rejoice -- and be grateful to God -- that peace and prosperity, the hope of every generation, reign for us on this July 4, 1988.
To all my fellow Americans, Happy Fourth of July!