Actually, I don't know if that's typical or not. But it's the way we usually celebrate, and I'm pretty sure it's what the Founding Fathers had in mind for every generation of Americans. They wanted us to remember that this country was created out of principle, and they expected us to commemorate the courage and vision that it took to carve a democratic society out of Old World values and an apparently endless wilderness.
It's also possible that they thought there was more to be done. Maybe they realized in 1776 that two and a quarter centuries later, we'd still be struggling to perfect the vision, and still looking for men and women of courage to help us get there. I think they believed we might need reminding, at least once a year, that there is still work to be done.
We remember them for a reason, and we need the kind of character they showed just as much now as we did then. Maybe more. We are sometimes so pleased with ourselves and satisfied with the way things are that we forget that liberty and justice for all means something. Those are not just words. They're our guiding principles. They're the goals we still haven't quite reached.
It's good to see that we're still making progress, though. Sometimes we might take a step or two backwards, but there are still leaders who inspire us to strive for the kind of society that's worthy of all the pomp and circumstance, all the "bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other," in the prophetic words of John Adams (although he thought we'd be doing this "from this time forward forever more" on July 2 every year).