For much of the early period of American history, Fourth of July was celebrated, particularly in the Northeast, in a public community sense. People would gather in town squares, have a picnic, usually drink to excess, and then a town leader or honored citizen would stand up and publicly read the entire text of the Declaration of Independence. Indeed this was how 4th of July was usually celebrated until well into the 20th century, when ball games, barbecues and fireworks tended to take over the public consciousness.

The old traditions are still worth preserving, though. In our digital age you could say that YouTube is our community, or one of them (for better or for worse). So here is my reading of the Declaration, from beginning to end, on this July 4th.

Happy Independence Day.

The header image is in the public domain to the best of my knowledge.