By Mandi Donohue

As Americans, we have been celebrating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence for 241 years. On July 4, 1776, our 13 colonies said goodbye to the British Empire and considered ourselves a new nation. The legal separation actually occurred on July 2 but the Declaration itself was finally approved by Congress on July 4.

Initially, Congress appointed a “Committee of Five” to develop the first draft. This committee consisted of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Roger Sherman of Connecticut.

Personally, I always feel a little guilty when it comes to national patriot holidays. How often to do we forget what the men and women went through to bring us to backyard barbecues? But when it comes to the Fourth of July, even John Adams was ready for a party. Right before approval by Congress, he wrote his wife Abigail the following:

“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.”

You see? It really is a celebration! It is also no surprise that people will want to celebrate here in the Methow. Last year, I had the great pleasure of enjoying the Twisp parade and the Arts Festival. It is truly a blast whether or not you have kids. Attractions include face painting, jugglers, acrobats, pie-eating contests, goats, games and incredible musical guests! A beer garden and food trucks help quench the thirst and hunger of the day. Methow Arts really does an incredible job and the guests are unique and fantastic. If you get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.

We’ve come a long way since the “Committee of Five,” but here’s to celebrating one complicated and incredible country. May we continue to grow in a way that celebrates all of our freedoms just like the Declaration says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Happy Fourth of July, Methow Valley!