Wednesday - July 06, 2005
INDEPENDENCE DAY bits: Thanks to an old friend no longer with us (who was quite an authority on American history) here are some unbelievable statistics particularly appropriate on Independence Day — July 4. And history stuff you probably never learned in skool … F’r example: It’s not generally known that the Declaration of Independence was originally written in French. True. The original is not in existence. What is on display in Washington is merely a copy … John Paul Jones, the great American naval hero, never was a citizen of this country, but he did become the commodore of the Russian fleet … The state of Vermont was an independent nation for many years. (From 1777 to 1791). When it finally became the 14th state it was known as New Connecticut … John Adams held the highest elected office in the United States before George Washington.
Adams was elected vice president and took his oath of office April 21, 1789 while Washington took his office a few days later — April 21, 1789 … Washington was the only president who never lived in the White House, altho he did lay the cornerstone in 1792 … The official legal tender in New Hampshire was not changed from pounds and shillings to dollars and cents until 1950 … The Indians could have had the best of the deal when they got $24 and some glass beads from the Dutch settlers for the island of Manhattan. If they had put that $24 in the Bank of England at compound interest, they would have more than the entire worth of Manhattan today … Actually, we only have 46 states. Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are commonwealths … And, didja know: Washington, D.C., is closer to Moscow than it is to the capital of what state? Hawaii, of course … And, that painting “Spirit of 76” is an anachronism. The Stars and Stripes were not designed until 1777… So what happened to those great patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five of the signers were captured by the British, branded traitors, and tortured before they died … Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned … Nine of the 56 died from wounds and hardships fighting in the Revolutionary War … But — what kind of men were these brave people who so boldly wrote their names to the Declaration that lit the fires of liberty in souls of men throughout the world? … Twentyfour were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers and large plantation owners. All well-educated for those days. Their security, incomes, worldly possessions made the substantially well-off. They all knew that signing the Declaration of Independence would mean death on the gallows if they were captured. That certainly did not stop them. They signed. And pledged their lives, fortunes — and sacred honor — for the cause of liberty … There are so many untold stories of the sacrifices made by those longago patriots
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