Between today’s parade and fireworks, I found a literary way to celebrate  – by finishing David McCullough’s 1776.

Truth be told, I meant to finish this book several days ago, but it worked out nicely to read these words on our national holiday:

“The year 1776, celebrated as the birth year of the nation and for the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was for those who carried the fight for independence forward a year of all-too-few-victories, of sustained suffering, disease, hunger, desertion, cowardice, disillusionment, defeat, terrible discouragement, and fear, as they would never forget, but also of phenomenal courage and bedrock devotion to country, and that, too, they would never forget.”

McCullough uses diaries, letters, commanders’ orders, memoirs, and other historical documents to present the events related to the beginning of the American Revolution immediately after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

I can’t even imagine the amount of research that went into compiling this historically factual book, which reads matter-of-fact with little emotion. It was a slow read for me, but I never considered not finishing. I appreciated the reminder that it almost didn’t go so well for Americans.

McCullough towards the end writes:

“The war was a longer, far more arduous and more painful struggle than later generations would understand or sufficiently appreciate.”

He certainly helped us out by writing this book.