Posted July 3, 2008 8:14 a.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2008 8:29 a.m. EDT
I have a couple of cool ways to mark Independence Day while you're surfing.
First, a very informative site from the National Archives and Records Administration called Charters of Freedom. If you need to brush up on your U.S. history, the site offers an easy-to-read history of the march to freedom through our key documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You can read the history and inspect high-resolution images of the documents.
Don't forget: North Carolina was first in freedom! Our license plates used to say that, and for what it's worth, I think they still should. The Halifax Resolves were unanimously passed on April 12, 1776. It was not an outright declaration of independence, but it was the first formal call for American sovereignty.
Our other site hits close to home. Once upon a time, TV stations signed off the air every night. Here's a video of our WRAL-TV sign-off from 1989. After all of the technical sign-off stuff (Recognize the voice there? We'll see which commenter is first to identify the announcer.), a magnificent version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" begins around 1:10. It takes you on a visual history of the United States, from Jamestown to the first moon landing.
By the way, that's the resonant voice of Bill Leslie in the quick promo for the "5:30 First News" at the beginning of the clip!
Happy Independence Day! Go and enjoy that liberty, now. What a country.