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Happy Independence Day

Many times I'll pull a Jay Leno "Man on the Street" bit and ask various people I encounter if they know when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

I got into a bit of a brawl with one of my roommates several months ago over whether or not the study of history was important. In the midst of it I said I was appalled at how many people didn't know that particular date.

She then said that SHE didn't know.

"Um...could it be THE FOURTH OF JULY?!?! Why do you THINK we celebrate it?"

I mean, I don't remember THAT many dates...but I mean, if you're an American...this is THE DATE to remember. I mean, truly, 4 July, 1776. THAT'S IT.

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I am grateful to live in this country. I am grateful to be an American. Once xenologue asked me when we were first hanging out how it felt to be a citizen of the most powerful country on earth. I was a bit startled...I hadn't ever really thought about it in those terms...and especially coming from someone who wasn't a born and bred Yank.

I think I mumbled something about feeling safe...and also feeling like a big target. Keep in mind, this was pre September 11th.

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How do I feel now? Even prouder to be an American. Yes, we can be big and obnoxious and obtuse and I think often we are our own worst enemy. I look at some of the debates going back and forth across both sides of the aisle and think that many of our enemies must be listening in and laughing themselves sick.

However, when I read the history books (by actual historians and not the crap that gets taught in public schools,) the more astounded and humbled I am to live here and be a citizen of this remarkable country.

What an unbelievable gathering of so many great and noble men around 1776 and the sacrifices they had to make...and all for a dream.

Indeed, God bless America.

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
throbinson
Jul. 4th, 2005 08:22 pm (UTC)
Um... except it wasn't signed on July 4.

July 4 Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence in the morning of a bright, sunny, but cool Philadelphia day. John Dunlap prints the Declaration of Independence. These prints are now called "Dunlap Broadsides." Twenty-four copies are known to exist, two of which are in the Library of Congress. One of these was Washington's personal copy.
July 5 John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress, dispatches the first of Dunlap's broadsides of the Declaration of Independence to the legislatures of New Jersey and Delaware.
July 6 Pennsylvania Evening Post of July 6 prints the first newspaper rendition of the Declaration of Independence.
July 8 The first public reading of the Declaration is in Philadelphia.
July 9 Washington orders that the Declaration of Independence be read before the American army in New York
July 19 Congress orders the Declaration of Independence engrossed (officially inscribed) and signed by members.
August 2 Delegates begin to sign engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence. A large British reinforcement arrives at New York after being repelled at Charleston, S.C.

Not trying to be an ass about it or anything, but you probably shouldn't try to make other people look like an idiot about not knowing the answer to a question you don't know the answer to, either.

jatg
Jul. 4th, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
I'm very aware the DoI went through a rigerous process and wasn't offically signed on the 4th...but that IS the date we celebrate. But come on. The fourth of JULY. 1776? I mean, grab a group of college kid and ask them if they know the YEAR.

I don't ask the questions to make people look like idiots. I do it because it's a good indicator as to how well basic history is being taught and I'm curious.

There are enough plenty enough subjects (yes, I'm aware that is appalling word structure </i>) that I know beans about that prohibts me roaming around around the world (or cyberspace) trying to feel intellectually superior.

And did you really spout all those dates off the top of your head?

Just curious, as long we're not being asses about it.

throbinson
Jul. 4th, 2005 09:04 pm (UTC)
Well, 'course not. I looked it up. Always a good way to check facts -- it was on the official Declaration of Independence website.

And I agree, it's ridiculous how many high school students (and college students -- and average working people on the street) have wildly inaccurate notions of basic American and world history facts (such as not being able to put the Civil War even within a couple of decades of the correct dates).
rockymento
Jul. 5th, 2005 11:30 am (UTC)
thanks for the reminders Jatg
As a History major, who never got to do anything with her major, I appreciate what you have said. I wish more folks would have an appreciation for what we have in this country instead of trying to tear apart the freedoms that we have living in this country.

Thanks for the gentle reminder... but on a lighter/sadder side, My niece tells me that this past weekend her MIL was uestioning her kids on what exactly was independence day. My nephew's 6 & 9 said,"well everybody knows that. it was the day we fought for our rights & killed all the aliens!"
red_girlfriend
Jul. 5th, 2005 03:51 pm (UTC)
On a side note. I found that Canadian Cd. pheonix_jade has it and said he will copy it and send it to you.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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