Never during that tedious, contentious year in Philadelphia could they have imagined this.
The need to declare independence from England grew urgent in the early summer of 1776. And even to the cautious, war appeared inevitable. But few of the Founding Fathers saw beyond the present crisis to a time when their nation become a world power. Those who did dare to dream, did not dream of this.America is 212 years old. The return of the cyclical drought that muted her 200th birthday is again preventing fireworks in many states. But it can't prevent the pride and elation that marks yet another birthday for a nation whose crude and shaky beginnings should have marked it for a brief life and forgettable death.
So celebrate we will.
And the Jazzettes are ready. They have been rehearsing their dance for the Centerville Children's Parade all summer. Jaimie Nielson's mother finished their matching shirts. Each girl came up with her own pair of blue shorts and they all have their red hair ribbons.
They are understandably nervous.
"Just think, my parents are going to be watching me," Deanna Servey confided.
But they are prepared. They started getting ready for this moment a year ago when Jolynn Hogge, then 10 years old, decided she wanted to be a dance teacher - now.
Jolynn and her pal, Jennifer Webb, decided they would form a dance school, teaching younger girls in the neighborhood how to dance.
The two teachers are now 11 years old. Their school is in its second successful summer, and they decided this year was the year to appear in the children's parade.
"Two little boys - Dustin, and we haven't found the other one - will hold our banner," Jolynn explained.
The boys will march in front, carrying the paper banner proclaiming the girls as "The Jazzettes." Behind them, the two teachers and their four pupils will dance their way down Third East.
The pupils, 6 to 9 years old, have been rehearsing diligently. They performed for their parents June 28. The performance was so successful that Jolynn and Jennifer view the parade with confidence.
While Jolynn and Jennifer crowd a few more rehearsals into the weekend, other Centerville children will decorate their tricycles, wagons and Big Wheels. They will carefully twine crepe paper through the spokes of their wheels and around the handles. They will tie balloons everywhere a child can find to tie a balloon.
A few of the children will help carry the large banner at the front of the parade proclaiming the entourage as the Centerville Children's Parade. Some will get to ride on a float borrowed from the town of Lehi. The float says "Happy Birthday Garfield," honoring the birthday of a popular cartoon character.
Several other children will collectively hold on to a giant balloon that will waft over the procession. The children who don't get to hold on to the big balloon will be given their own smaller balloons to carry.
Some of the youngsters will dress up - clowns, football players, pirates. One scout troop will put on freshly-pressed scout shirts and neckerchiefs, gather in formation and carry the flag.
Most probably won't know why they are there. The Jazzettes weren't sure.
"I think we celebrate the Fourth because it's when the pioneers came to Utah," Jennifer guessed. The others said they didn't know.
When it was pointed out that their shirts were red, white and blue, Traci and Luci Webb caught on.
"Oh, that's the color of the flag," Traci said.
"I think I know what July 4th is for. It's to celebrate the flag," Luci decided.
The framers of the Declaration of Independence probably wouldn't have minded the children's confusion about what they are celebrating.
More likely, they would marvel that two centuries after that muggy July night when they gave their assent to those defiant words, "When in the course of human events . . ." - there is still so much to celebrate.