Tomorrow, Americans in this country, and Americans in other countries we own or lease or occupy or plan to annex, will gather to celebrate the dramatic day our nation was spat forth upon this earth from the loins of Destiny those many thousands of years ago. This will be done, as it always has been, with the ritual consumption of beef and pork products, followed by the the ignition of incendiary devices.
But during these celebrations, most Americans lose sight of the real events that helped give birth to our nation. So as I am educated and trained as a historian, I feel it is somewhat of a duty for me to offer this brief overview for you (and also for my European readers who are mystified not only by our history, but why we write the month ahead of the date as I’ve done in the title of this post).
On July 4th, 1776, Daniel Boone made his famous midnight ride to warn the signers of the Declaration of Independence that British troops were drawing near.
The British 4th Mechanized Division, under the command of Oliver Cromwell, approached the Appomattox Courthouse in Boston where the signers were gathered. General Washington’s ragtag band of conscripts—dubbed “Tusken Raiders”—outnumbered by 1000 to 1, freezing in the cold and nearly starved to death, managed to hold off Cromwell’s forces long enough to allow the signers to escape and finish writing the Declaration of Independence. As the fighting raged on, Thomas Jefferson was able to sign the document and get it in the mail to England just minutes before the post office closed.
Washington’s men retreated several times until they were finally encircled and forced to take refuge in The Alamo. The remaining American forces fought bravely for six more months, until the walls were finally breached by the British. The Americans surrendered, having won the war somehow, and the new nation’s independence was solidified with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.
The only American survivor of the siege at The Alamo was P. T. Barnum, who would later become our country’s 12th president.
So as you all eat your burgers and guzzle your beers and blow shit up tomorrow, take a moment to reflect solemnly on the world-changing events of that day, and remember those immortal opening words of our founding document, the Declaration: “One For All, and All For One.”