04 July 2013

Special Independence Day Edition...
Welcome to another birthday for our nation, and in spite of certain people, we're still doing okay.
The Heartland weather today will...oh, what the hell, it's gonna be like a lot of the past week...maybe a little warmer with higher humidity some sun and a chance of rain...deal with it...LOL!
Wherever you are and whatever the weather, this IS America's birthday...add another candle, folks!
So, let's get busy and see what we can discover together, shall we?
*** First up is the answer to yesterday's WHO SAID THAT? quote:
"We have to go in places no body would ever think of going into were it not for the necessities of war."
This was spoken by General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and here's his WIKI:
His is an interesting story both in the battlefield and also well beyond the pall of war.
For his actions on 2 July, 1863, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
He was considered mortally wounded at Petersburg (April 1864) and not expected to live.
He was given a battlefield promotion to Brigadier General by General Grant.
He served four 1-year terms of office as the 32nd governor of Maine.
And he died of complications of battle wounds received in the Civil War...in 1914!
*** Next up today...it was certainly NO "happy" 4th in the little town of Gettysburg.

After a tumultuous 3-day battle in and around the town and farms, the Confederates used thunderstorms to mask their withdrawal back south.
The Union troops were left with the job of pursuing the rebels and possibly ending the war sooner, which General Meade did not.
This drew the ire of President Lincoln, needless to say.
The monumental task of burying the tens of thousands of dead was left to both the townspeople AND the Army of the Potomac.
Then there were the thousands of WOUNDED still on the various battlefields in the area that needed tending to, and although Meade's army had over 300 physicians, only about THIRTY were qualified to perform surgery, which many of the wounded were in need of, lest they succumb to sepsis and die.
It's interesting to note that there was one woman who is rarely mentioned in history, especially BLACK history, and it's only proper that I do so here.
(( The aftermath of the battle also witnessed acts of tremendous generosity on the part of Gettysburg’s African American residents. J. Howard Wert, a reporter for the Harrisburg Telegraph described the deeds of Gettysburg’s Lydia Hamilton Smith:
She belonged to a downtrodden race, for she was a colored woman…
She was poor, yet she had a little money saved up, a trifle at a time, by years of labor. From a white neighbor she hired a ramshackle wagon with which she did hauling, and a horse (who) was a pile of bones, else probably he would not have been in Adams County at all but mounted by a Confederate cavalryman.
Lydia circled widely through the farm section around Bendersville and York Springs.
Eloquently she told of the tens of thousands of suffering men: “ I thank de good Lawd that put it in my heart to try to do something for these poor creatures.” When she could get donations of delicacies and suitable clothing, she accepted them. When donations failed, she bought till she had spend the very last penny of her little hoard… But now the wagon was heaped high to its full capacity, and she turned toward the hospital miles away…
And then Lydia, feeling no the weariness from many miles of travel, began to distribute the articles she had brought-to Union soldiers, of course?
Union and Confederate lay side by side, and that noble colored woman saw not in the latter the warriors who were striving to perpetuate the slavery of he race.
She saw only suffering humanity.))
That excerpt can be found at THIS link:
There was also the dead livestock and horses from both sides that needed to be dealt with, because in the hot summer air, the stench was becoming overwhelming.
But elsewhere on the "home front", U.S. Grant had finally taken Vicksburg that same day after a long siege of that city.
So, the 4th of July came with a mixed blessing those 150 years ago.
*** And what is the legacy that we can take away from not only what happened 150 years ago, but what transpired back in 1776?
Well, the REAL story behind the legacy can be found HERE:
Today marks the approval by our fledgling Congress of our Declaration of Independence.
Kinda sounds a bit more banal when it's explained that way, right?
Here's the WIKI as an bonus:
It also is the date printed on the copies of the declaration that were distributed throughout our new nation.
So, it's no wonder that people came to believe that TODAY, the FOURTH of July was the ACTUAL date we declared independence.
Yeah, that was an "oops" moment, but everything panned out all right.
*** There is a true AND lasting legacy to be found surrounding this day, and it can be found here:
Scroll down to section 9 and you will clearly see the influence OUR declaration had upon other nations...not that those came to as good an ending as ours. France was especially keen on OUR declaration as were other nations to follow, and the list is in that section.
(that's a lot of nations)
Many will argue that our Declaration was used to advance certain agendas, while others claim "ownership" for political reasons.
The slavery issue was easily the most put upon, due to the Declaration's claim that "all men are created equal", and yet people still owned slaves, so how EXACTLY was that truly "equal"?
Well, thankfully, because of the abolitionists, ALL men were indeed proven equal, although fine tuning that premise would take even longer, culminating in the Civil Rights Movement.
Women's suffrage was also a resulting factor of our Declaration.
So, you can say that our very own Declaration of Independence has a profound effect in THIS nation, especially towards people of color and all women, as well as many nations across the globe. And that's not anything to sneeze at.
*** We celebrate today for many reasons...some good, some not so good.
Personally, I like to embrace what our forefathers did, in order to create THIS "new nation", which was created under principles found in the Bible, and I like to do it NOT by carousing, but by contemplation, and just enjoying the ability to live as free as we have.
Liberty and freedom are NOT similar...Webster's tells us THAT much.
It is LIBERTY that allows us the FREEDOM, and not the other way around.
The FREEDOM we enjoy is thanks in every part to the LIBERTY we are granted.
When we define liberty, there are multiple references to freedom, but the definition of freedom does NOT contain ANY mention of liberty.
Think about that.
It behooves us to fight for our liberty then, to ensure our own freedoms...it's that simple.
Whenever we hear tell of someone or something that is denying us some sort of "freedom", they are in fact trying to take away a portion of our LIBERTY, which provides our freedoms.
I also don't think that common citizens setting off monstrously loud fireworks to bother everyone else demonstrates MY ability to fully understand what freedom OR liberty is...especially when it concerns OTHERS.
Over 8700 people were injured just LAST year messing with fireworks when they shouldn't have been.
I leave that to the professionals and THEIR ability to entertain us with displays that truly embrace the celebratory nature of the holiday.
And, I have to take exception with all the "sales" at stores...like our liberty and freedom should be overly-merchandised.
Hey, I love capitalism, but when it starts to get in the way of the REAL meaning of this day, and those who sacrificed everything to allow today to happen, that just bugs me to no end.
So, I fly our flag...the SYMBOL of our liberty...and the freedom it allows us.
I will listen to patriotic music, and watch public displays of fireworks as they were meant to be shown for the masses.
I may even char some animal flesh on the grill today, because of what that founding document means.
But I will also practice moderation and not allow my festive demeanor to get out of control and to inflict itself upon others needlessly.
And, come to think of it...if we ALL did something along those lines, we'd ALL enjoy days like this SO much more...don'cha think?
Have a very happy "4th".
Be well, make a difference to someone, and...
Stay SAFE out there, America.

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