The following is an excerpt from a journal of sorts written by Odelle Moss Sublett (my grandmother). This was written 37 years ago when our country was celebrating her bicentennial.
“Happy Birthday America! The cry was heard over all the land! Oh glorious beautiful, perfect 4th! What a birthday! A great and proud nation paused to pay tribute and give thanks for all the many blessings that had been showered upon her people these past 200 years. We reflected upon the integrity, the honor, the perseverance of our forefathers…”
“July 3, 1976
Today was a beautiful, busy day. Carol, Lacy, Leigh Anne, Andy and I went to Kilmarnock to see the parade. It was a really good parade and lots of fun. Donna Lacey rode in the parade as Tobacco Ball contestant. We took a great many pictures and goofed off a great deal. When Donna’s float came by, Carol yelled “STOP.” The driver stopped and we hope we got great pictures. The Bank of Virginia’s float depicted a bank robbery scene. New 1976 pennies were thrown from a sack…”
“Sunday, July 4, 1976
Happy Birthday, America! This is the ‘big day, the real day’ 200 years “old” or should I say “young.” The day dawned partly cloudy and was usual for the past several days but nothing daunted our spirits. We knew the sun would be shining brightly very soon. It was the nation’s birthday. We all felt a sense of great joy and anticipation. The day had finally arrived for ‘We, the people.’ Carol, Andy, Leigh Anne and I started the day by attending services at White Stone Baptist Church. It was a beautiful service. The ‘town crier’ proclaimed the ‘day of worship.’ Then the color guard entered followed by the choir. We sang the ‘National Anthem’ and pledged allegiance to the flag. We recited ‘the American Creed.’…At 2 o’clock a signal was given in Philadelphia for church bells to ring all over the country. Carol and I had to rush from the dinner table to make it to church. A neighbor saw us practically running up the street. If she hadn’t given us a ride we would have been late. We got there just in time for the bells. Then we all sang ‘Happy Birthday, America.’
I am so thankful that I have this document. It really gives me insight into my grandmother. It is wonderful to know how she felt. She did a wonderful job of expressing her feelings. This very historic day is now forever recorded. I know all of the people in the story. It is a vivid description of the events happening in a small town in Virginia in 1976. My family came down to White Stone after the 4th of July. We spent the rest of the week there, and then we went back to grandma’s afterwards. Odelle writes “Betty and Larry and family came with us home on Sunday. We stopped by St. John’s Church in Richmond and were lucky enough to see the reenactment of Patrick Henry’s Liberty of Death Speech. It was wonderful.”
I had to look up what the American’s Creed. William Tyler Page wrote this creed. You can find it in its entirety here: http://www.ushistory.org/documents/creed.htm
Wow, I had to look up Patrick Henry’s speech too. It actually took place at St. John’s Church on 23 March 1775. I am sure that as an 8-year-old child. I was not as impressed to be standing in the same place. But as I reflect back today, it must have been an awesome feeling for my grandmother.
So today, as we celebrate our Nation’s birthday, I will pause to remember my grandmother and be thankful for her and her patriotism.