Firecrackers Day Celebrations – Name Your Poison

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

A while back I was talking on the phone with my bud, Rich, in North Carolina.  He’d just returned from a visit to the Georgia Guidestones and was telling me about them, and the general history of the area where they’re located.  One anecdote involved the local hero of the American Revolutionary War.

Seems there was a woman settler in the area famous enough for her contribution to be recognized as a hero and locally a focus of veneration.  She got a bunch of British soldiers drunk and murdered them while they slept.

I don’t doubt a few more dead enemy soldiers was a boon at the time, but I found myself wondering how the woman felt about it after the dust settled, say three, four decades later.  It ain’t as though your average British soldier was a lot different than the people he was fighting against at the time.  Just grunts, following orders, doing what they were told to do, same as soldiers everywhere.  Probably it’s possible to assemble a set of reasonings to appreciate the impact the event had on the outcome of the Revolution, but it’s less easy to bring up any admiration for the lady who did it.

In fact, I’d guess her neighbors and husband were careful not to offend her during her time around them later.  A person who’d do what she did is nobody to be trifled with.

But thinking about all that led me to consider the whole issue of the way we humans celebrate history.  Fairly bizarre, when you consider it carefully.  The British celebrate a guy who attempted to blow up Parliament, but was thwarted, for instance.  Lots of fireworks, but I wonder if they’re cheering the attempt to do it, or the failure of the effort?

For that matter, I wonder if they do much celebrating out on the Rez, shooting off fireworks and cheering the ethnic memory of, say, Custer’s Last Stand.  Or the slaughter of Fetterman’s troops during the Red Cloud uprising.  If they don’t, are they being sufficiently true to their own tribal histories?, I speculates.

Or, at least as grotesque, are the black citizens of the projects all over the US going to be cheering for the institution of slavery that brought their ancestors to this geography so’s to allow them to be here, not Africa?  Whatever the shortcomings of life in modern US ghettos, probably the average modern resident of their ancestral homelands would gladly change places.  Can I hear a few “Amens!” for the institution of slavery in this land concurrent with [gulp, sigh] remembering our noble founding fathers?  Their unselfish efforts and sacrifices along the avenue toward ‘freeing themselves’ from British oppression and tyranny?   

Is anyone in Georgia going to be singing, Marching Through Georgia tomorrow?  Cheering Sherman’s scorched earth burning of Atlanta, and churning across the state burning and looting the citizenry, civilian and military, all the way to Savannah?

Fact is, it all comes out of the same cauldron.  Sip a spoonful of it and you have to either like the overall taste, or focus on the flavor of the meat while ignoring the onions and garlic.  Here, and everywhere else.

For instance, the Japanese probably have enjoyed their post-WWII / pre-tsunami affluence, freedoms, non-involvement in military adventures.  They’d never have gotten any of that without Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Okinawa, the Bataan Death March, the Rape of Nanking, Midway,  Tarawa, et al.  The destruction of the Japanese Empire.

But I’m betting they don’t have a day of celebration for it.

Probably somewhere in Georgia there’s a community of UK citizens visiting, or living out their lives.  Or folks who came here from the UK and became US Citizens.  Maybe tomorrow would be a good day for them to visit the Georgia Guidestones, wave a US flag around to acknowledge that history’s a different place for them now, than it used to be.  In any case, maybe they ought to be conscious of how much they drink and where they do their drinking.  Georgia still has woman patriots.

History’s not an overly hospitable environment without some selectivity and flexibility.  Going out tomorrow and killing a few Brits, Japanese, Yankees, whites, Mexicans, Spaniards, Germans, Vietnamese, Apache, Navajo, Lakota, maybe a few Russians for good measure would help everyone remember, better, what patriotism’s all about.  Or get’em drunk and cut their throats.

At least it wouldn’t be as boring as a parade.  An honest tribute to our ancestors, whomever they might have been, would help us make the same mistakes they did.  Which we will.

Old Jules









Who needs fireworks anyway, when you can have the real thing?


9 responses to “Firecrackers Day Celebrations – Name Your Poison

  1. My friend in South Carolina tells me it’s impolite to even mention Sherman’s name especially anywhere near the city of Charleston.

    • Hi Swabby. Various tribes out west remember him with similar fondness thanks to his activities after the Civil War. Names and places are what change. Not much else. Gracias, J

  2. You have a wonderful and unusual way of explaining history, and I love it. Great job!! Keep it up.

  3. Love the way you manage to look at things from an angle no one else even dreamed of. And watch out – firecrackers are dangerous. I always liked sparklers the best.

  4. On July 4, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg turned to the advantage of the Union, and Lee retreated. On the same day, Vicksburg fell to Grant, and the Union flag flew over both Gettysburg and Vicksburg that evening. Rumor is that the 4th of July was not celebrated again in Vicksburg until the 1950s, but I can’t verify that rumor.

  5. Oh, like like like. As an American in Ireland, and working in a small office with an even split of Irish and English, I considered bringing in a US flag today. But the English wouldn’t appreciate it (if they know their history, which in 1 out of 3 cases I doubt seriously) and even if they do still call the US ‘the colonies.’ The Irish wouldn’t quite get it either as they don’t even have a calendar date for their ‘independence.’ In all incidences of modern war, as you say, there’s been a lot of death; and just how are you meant to feel proud of that, as the descendants of the winners? I know both Germans and Japanese here in Ireland – and boy, do I want to ask them what they think about it all. I only feel slightly ‘entitled’ to ask, even though I have not as of yet, because all of us have given up our native countries to live here… I hope I get to know them better so I get the chance.

  6. To be fair on November 5 us Brits do put an effigy of Guido Fawkes on the bonfire as well as letting off fireworks, even if he was only one of the conspirators who planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Oddley enough Fawkes avoided being hung, drawn and quartered by leaping off the scaffold and breaking his neck.

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