On July 4, 1976, America celebrated its 200th birthday. Is that really America’s birthday? In 2007, Jamestown, VA celebrated its 400th birthday. Thirteen years before the first pilgrims came to the New World, 104 men and boys landed on what was to become Virginia soil (named for the Virginia Company of England). Meeting with great hardships and overcoming tremendous odds, they formed the first permanent English colony in the New World.
What most believe, is that July 4, 1776 is the true birthday of this great land, when in fact, this day was the day America declared her freedom from England and openly developed her own government. History shows that this was America’s coming-of-age, its Independence Day. Wouldn’t that make America’s true birthday May 14, 1607 when Jamestown was settled and colonists began the building of the New World?
Dictionary.com gives the definition of birthday as 1) the anniversary of a birth, 2) the day of a person’s birth, and 3)a day marking or commemorating the origin, founding, or beginning of something. Using the third definition, the birth of America happened on May 14, 1607. From infancy on, the country depended on its parent for the basic necessities. England supplied her with the means to build a nation. She also provided the New World with the necessities to build a self-sustaining life in the harsh wilds of the 17th century, eastern, coastal areas. Hardships were many, and at times extreme, but the colonists prevailed.
Still others may say that America’s birthday should be when it received its name. A German by the name of Martin Waldseemuller translated the narrative of Amerigo Vespucci’s voyage in 1507. At that time the first map was created naming the large continent as America. The map, believed to have been lost or destroyed, was found in a 16th century castle belonging to Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg. It has been purchased by the Library of Congress and is referred to as “America’s Birth Certificate”.
America’s birth did not begin with her independence. There were many struggles and trials to face, much growth that occurred and lessons to be learned before America could become “One nation under God”. She had to first learn to crawl and to walk; to literally survive before she was able to take, by force, her independence. America is a great land. She is a young country still, but she has made a name for herself among the great countries of this world; as the leader. The one to follow and the one to look to in time of need.
This land deserves a true birthday. The people just need to decide when it should be. The time of conception, the time of birth, or the time of independence. Maybe she deserves a celebration for all three!