Posts Tagged ‘Declaration of Independence’

BraveCompanionsI was looking for something to read; a book to pick up with a stand-alone chapter to pass an hour or so on my Independence Day afternoon. David McCullough’s” 1776″ and “Truman” were standing at attention as I reached for his “Brave Companions: Portraits in History”.  A bookmark with early scenes of Boston rested inside. It reminded me of the charming bookstore, Toad Hall, where I purchased “Brave Companions ”  on a trip to Massachusetts several years ago. Just what I needed on a slow, holiday afternoon.

I enjoy reading David McCullough’s books. His conversational style of writing brings historical characters, events and places alive.His unique voice and storytelling style often make me want to learn more. Be it about Harry Truman or the first year of the Revolutionary War, I always come away from McCullough’s books feeling a wee bit more knowledgeable about subjects I love.

So it was on this Fourth of July that I opened “Brave Companions”, surveyed the chapters’ topics,  landed on Washington on the Potomac, and took a brisk stroll with Mr. McCullough. We walked past historic venues and notable spots, with bits and pieces of the people and places and occurrences that make Washington, D.C. a remarkable capital city.

I finished the chapter, a fitting essay to read on this day, then I rested my eyes for a spell, thinking about my favorite Fourth of July. It was the summer we took our girls to D.C. for a family vacation. We did the touristy things one does in D.C., but the memory that stands clearest was how we spent the Fourth of July.  We walked from our hotel across the Mall and heard a dramatic early morn reading of the Declaration of Independence in front of the National Archives. We took the trolley to Arlington Cemetery, then to the Lincoln Memorial, several buildings of the Smithsonian, the Vietnam Wall . . . and walked and rode on and on, ending our day with fireworks on the Mall, the Washington monument looming above as if holding the colorful display for all to see.

It was nice to remember that Independence Day, appreciating Mr. McCullough’s words on the pages just read, and feeling grateful for what I have.

How about you? Have you read any history or historical fiction lately? Have you read anything by David McCullough?


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The Declaration of Independence

Independence Hall



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. . . that all men are created equal.

The 4th of July is upon us and we are busy, scurrying, cleaning the house, tackling the outside, getting ready for the 4th!

I love the 4th of July. Independence Day. Parades, fireworks, food, family, and friends.


Anyone who knows me knows my love of American history. How we came to be and the heroes who brought us through. Washington and Adams, farmers and scholars, free men and slaves. Betsy Ross.

Betsy Ross. The woman credited with sewing our first flag. A brave thing to do in a time of civil disobedience. An act of treason.

No one truly knows if Betsy Ross made the first flag. We do know she was an upholsterer in Philadelphia who knew George Washington and, whether or not she sewed the first flag, she likely sewed others as well as uniforms for the troops.

Betsy Ross is a symbol to me of the sacrifices and pluck of the women of the American Revolution.

Click on flag for a better look.

I found this at a craft show some years ago. The craftsperson told me that in some country schools, children would learn the words to the Declaration of Independence by first writing them on the white lines of old flags. They would then sew the words on, like a sampler. I don’t know if this is what was actually done, but, found it plausible and liked the idea of learning the words by writing them, then sewing them,  then hanging them in such a way. I brought one home and we hung it, just where I thought it should go from the very first moment I saw it, on a half wall between our kitchen and dining area. It could be seen and read each and every time we sat down to eat or do homework, sign report cards or address wedding invitations. It became a fabric of our lives as it rested in an unexpected spot. I like the unexpected in life.

The framed flag now hangs on a wall in our family room here on the cutoff. Folks visit us, from all walks of life and from places near and far, and they invariably walk up to our sampler, which is simple and frayed under glass, and look closely to see the stitches and then slowly read the words . . .

Here’s something fun to try. It is told that George Washington wanted the stars on the flag to be six-sided. Betsy thought otherwise and suggested a five pointed star. Told five pointed stars would be too hard to make, she picked up a scissors, made a few folds, and in one single snip proved to the noted gentleman that he was mistaken. The rest, as they say, is history!

Directions are here.

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