happy birthday to a country once called a "magnificent spectacle of human happiness."

There is no better place in the world than Washington, D.C. on the 4th of July. Crowds push toward the metro stations, families pour into parks armed with lawn chairs and waterbottles, yuppies head to their office buildings to see the view from the rooftop, and when dusk begins to fall, the air is think with anticipation and humidity.

And then pop BOOM fizzle! Fireworks shoot up, spread their lightening arms out wide, and dive back down to rain over the monuments. This year I watched the display from the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn, and even though the fireworks always feels too short, it was beautiful while it lasted.

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha 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 for evermore."

--- John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776.

[He was off on the date, but right where it counted.]

Hope your holiday was wonderful.

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