Independence Day

PRENOTE; about the Supreme Courts decisions, if you wish, here.

POSTNOTE: Letters from an American: Heather Cox Richardson comments on the early history of American independence, here; and here.


All best wishes for a good 4th of July.  And to Canadians, as well, celebrating Canada Day, today [July 1].

Going through some of Dad’s personal papers last week I came across an 8×10 photograph of the Liberty Bell.

The photo was a promotional piece from an advocacy group.

I’ve seen the bell in person (in Philadelphia, 1972) and whether photo or reality, it is awesome, one of the powerful representations of U.S. history.  A brief history of the Liberty Bell can be read here.  (At  the end of the brochure is a brief video about the history of the bell, including its naming.)

It is in the nature of countries to have significant dates and symbols, flags and other representations of national pride.

This particular July 4, upcoming on Tuesday,  leads me to focus on Canada Day (July 1), and a local celebration  sponsored by the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis 10 years ago, June 28, 2013.

Here’s what seems to be the outline of some of this years July 1 celebrations in Canada.

Here’s a long and interesting article about Canada’s road to independence; complicated but very interesting.  This particular history tends to forget the French era in Quebec from 1534 to 1759, beginning in 1867,  I’ll leave the argument for others, but my earliest French ancestors were in Canada at least from the early 1630s and perhaps earlier.   And the French-Canadians called themselves “Canadiens” to distinguish themselves from others in Canada.  No matter.  All’s okay.

Of course, Canada is not our only geographic neighbor in North America.  To the south is Mexico, whose day of independence is September 16, 1810.    Here’s the Library of Congress rendition of the Mexican evolution to independence.


As you can note, the histories of Canada, Mexico, ours, and indeed all countries are complex.  History is not easily reducible to a single specific symbol, or a specific date.  Indigenous folks were late to be recognized as people most everywhere.  The major colonial players were Spanish, English and French, all at about the same time.

Every country among the 194 nations in the world have significant milestones in their own histories.

I chose here to highlight the three major nations that comprise the North American Continent.  Much is made of the distinctions between these countries.  But regardless of rhetoric there is great interdependence among these countries, indeed all countries of the planet, in these times.

June 26, 2013, I saw our interdependence with out neighbor celebrated in person at a social event hosted by the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis.  Then-Consul Jamshed Merchant invited us to the Consulate Canada Day celebration.  Representatives of the United States and Mexican government, and of course Canada, gave brief comments on how the three nations cooperate on a daily basis in many ways.

Sharing the platform with the speakers were four flags: those of Canada, United States, Mexico and the state of Minnesota, pictured below.  (The green is part of the Mexico flag.  As I recall, the speaker in the photo represented Mexico).  Note the sign: “Growing Stronger Economies TOGETHER“.  If I recall correctly, the rhetoric around the NAFTA agreement (North American Free Trade Agreement –  adopted 1994) was getting more intense: who gets what from cooperation, not an easy question with easy answers.  Today, I’d like to modify that sign, for all of us: “Growing Stronger Together”.

Each year of the event – I attended several – Canada had a brochure for those of us attending.  Here is the brochure for 2013: Canada-U.S.001.

I have fond memories of all of the gatherings I attended.

Whatever the case, you get the idea.  People and countries which work together do better, than fighting with each other.  It’s a lesson we find it difficult to learn.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.