Lead-Up to July 4 Brave and Brilliant

Article excerpt

Tomorrow we will celebrate the 236th anniversary of the independence of our country on July 4, 1776. For at least 169 years, American lives had been subjected to British rule after the first permanent colony was established at Jamestown, Va., in 1607. Many historic events occurred during those 169 years of connection with England.

The real effort for independence began in the fall of 1774 with the first meeting of the Continental Congress. All 13 colonies united in agreement to demand and protect their rights. The tensions between British troops and the colonists rose to the boiling point as the British attempted to keep its wards in line.

There was the Boston Massacre that took place in 1770 when colonists took issue with the quartering of British troops in private homes. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 was organized to protest the Tea Act and "taxation without representation." Then came the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 in which colonists and British forces clashed.

George Washington (1732-1799), a native of Westmoreland County, Va., was appointed head of the Continental Army on July 3, 1775. He had been a major in the Colonial Militia and had seen action in the French and Indian War (1754-1763). He was well known for his military ability and integrity. He began organizing and training his ragtag army.

The American Revolution (1775-1783) had 217,000 colonial troops in battle. There were 4,435 deaths, and 6,188 were wounded. For eight years they won and lost battles. With the help of naval and military support from the French, Washington defeated Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, and the British set sail for home in 1783.

The celebration of our independence also brings to mind other influential figures we learned about in school. …