The Fourth of July

  • Posted on: 5 July 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

A lot happens on any given day of the year. I share a birthday with Kevin James and Jet Li. The birthday of the U.S., July 4th, is a day that is in common with hundreds of birthdays, deaths and other important events. I cherry picked some of the interesting days from the years following 1776.

July 4, 1826 - Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States both died on the same day, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. These two men lived long lives-- 90 years and 83 years respectively. When I hear talk of life expectancy, I am reminded expectancy is an average. Outliers can live many long years. Then die on the same day.
July 4, 1827 - Slavery is abolished in New York state. Abolishment came to New York some 38 years before the 13th Amendment came in effect after the American Civil War.
July 4, 1831 - America's third president, James Monroe, dies. Maybe I'm being shallow, but I don't think much about James Monroe. Do you? Do you ever ask, "What would James Monroe do?"
July 4, 1865 - Alice in Wonderland is published. I always thought that this story was from the 18th century, not the 1800s.
July 4, 1872 - Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, is born: the only President born on Independence Day. Trivia: in his first term, Coolidge didn't even have a vice-president. In his second term, Charles G. Dawes, legendary circus weight lifter. No, I made that up.
July 4, 1886 - The People of France offer the US the Statue of Liberty. I like the idea of nations granting gifts to each other. In this era of protracted austerity and that a gift can be more than guns or butter, but art.
July 4, 1971 - Koko, the signing gorilla, is born. I am happy that Koko was not born later, lest he be drafted to work in WalMart.
July 4, 1994 - Liberation Day in Rwanda (the end of the genocidal regime). I find it ironic that such a bloody chapter in human history came to a close on July 4th. There are some remarkable tales coming out from Rwanda of reconciliation and bridge building between the players in the genocide.

Last updated date

Saturday, July 5, 2014 - 02:51