July 3rd marks an equally important day for American independence, says Walter Rodgers, recalling how the Union's Civil War victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg presaged the modern state. "The fate of our beloved country hung in the balance those first few days of July 1863 because of the mortal threat posed by the Confederate States’ insurrection and rebellion. Without the epic Union Victory at Gettysburg, Pa., on July 3, 1863, and the Confederate surrender of their 'Gibraltar' at Vicksburg above the Mississippi River the same day, we might have reverted to being dominated by an English monarch instead of becoming citizens of the greatest republic in the history of the world."