John Adams in a letter to his wife Abigail:
The second day of July, 1776 (the day Congress approved the Declaration of Independence), 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.
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means; that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even though we may regret it, which I trust in God we shall not.
Of course Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration.