DEAR READERS: Today marks the 228th year since the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

The resolution for the Declaration was introduced June 7, 1776, by Richard Henry Lee.

Do you know who seconded the motion? John Adams – who would later become our second U.S. president.

Any idea how many states he was president of? (I confess, I had to call the public library to find out.) There were only 16 when John Adams took office.

Do you know who wrote our Declaration of Independence? A committee of five. Thomas Jefferson is credited with writing most of it, assisted by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger Sherman.

And was it enthusiastically adopted? Heck, no! The Congress “suggested” a number of changes – and you can imagine how poor Jefferson felt about that. (About the same as any author who has to report to an editor.) Do you care to know how many changes were made by the “tweakers”? Eighty-six. (It makes one wonder if that’s where the term “eighty-sixed” – slang for someone or something ejected or rejected – originated.)

The Lee-Adams Resolution of Independence was adopted on July 2, 1776. The Declaration, which gives the details of the resolution, was adopted on the evening of July 4.

So why don’t we celebrate on July 2? Beats me – Happy Fourth of July one and all!

Readers, as you and I celebrate our freedom, won and secured by members of our military over the years, let’s remember our troops in Iraq and around the world who risk their safety every day on our behalf. Send messages of appreciation and support via Trust me, they will be received with gratitude.

DEAR ABBY: What is wrong with men that they don’t have the energy to pick up a phone when they’re going to be late and let their wives (or girlfriends) know? After an hour we get anxious; after two, we get worried.

After three hours had passed with no word from my husband, I called the police. They assured me that there had been no accidents in the area. I considered asking them if they would be willing to arrest my husband for causing so much worry and making me look like such a fool for having called them.

We women are equally to blame. As soon as we find out that everything’s OK, our hearts melt with relief and we forgive them on the spot. I need to know how to stay angry long enough to let my husband know this is unacceptable behavior. Hello! There are pay phones all over the place. You men can let us know what’s going on at any time. – KAREN IN LILY DALE, N.Y.

DEAR KAREN: I don’t blame you for being miffed. Three hours is a long time to wonder if a loved one is dead, injured or simply inconsiderate.

I have another idea. Rather than “staying angry,” give your darling a cell phone. Then if he’s more than a half- hour late, instead of calling the police – call HIM.

DEAR ABBY: My 16-year-old daughter recently told me that my ex-husband is being married on a trip to Hawaii. Is it appropriate for me to congratulate him since he has not mentioned the engagement to me? We only speak when he’s calling on the phone for our daughter. – PUZZLED ABOUT “EX” ETIQUETTE

DEAR PUZZLED: By all means congratulate him and wish him luck. And when you do, tell him that good news travels fast.

CONFIDENTIAL TO PAULINE PHILLIPS IN MINNEAPOLIS: Happy 86th birthday to the sweetest mother in the world. You are my example and my inspiration, and I love you.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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