July 4th has become an American holiday celebrating independence. However, John Adams thought it would be July 2nd. In a letter, dated the 3rd of July, 1776, he wrote to his wife, Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch 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 forever more.”
On the second day of July, the Continental Congress of the 13 Colonies passed a “resolution of independence” from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  But the war was still going on. The American Revolution, the fight for freedom from Britain, had begun in 1775, but it did not end until 1783.  So even though this declaration of independence was signed in 1776, the war continued for another seven years.
On the 4th of July, we celebrate the decision to become independent of Britain. It became a united goal. Of course, those loyal to the King were not loyal to the cause. [My husband’s ancestors in the Wentworth line made a quick exit to Canada. They stayed there until his father immigrated to the United States.]
But for many, the declaration was an act of faith. The war was not over. Just by committing to this agreement, and signing the document, men like John Adams had faith that America would gain her freedom. He was already celebrating with “pomp and parade” and devotion to the Almighty God  — for that future success.
A Committee of Five — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman had been working on the Declaration of Independence since June 11. The final document was dated July 4, 1776. And that’s why we celebrate on the 4th. It was passed on July 2 and signed on July 4th. We celebrate the day the founding fathers put their pen to the parchment as an act of faith. They believed before they saw the fruits of their labors. Otherwise, we would be celebrating on the day the war ended.
It was a time of believing without seeing.
John Adams

John Adams