Independence Day! Ahahaha!......No? Anybody?
Aaahm. Ok. Moving on.
I have to say Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. No sure if it's because of the exorbitant amounts of barbecued meat, or because it's one of the only holidays where we aren't buried in 7.5 feet of snow. Not to mention the bit about patriotism. 'Murica!
In honor of our nation's birthday, I found a few lesser known facts about the noble, courageous fathers who helped establish her foundation. Like all good things, there was some trial and error involved. For example, did you know that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird rather than the bald eagle? Imagine this face on our national crest.
In a letter to one of his relatives, Ben stated, “For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country. He is a Bird of bad moral character." He went on to say he had witnessed the bald eagle stealing fish from a hawk and felt this was entirely unethical on the eagle's part. Also, he felt the eagle was not a TRUE native bird of America (Just imagine if he saw our current policy on illegal immigrants. He'd probably hang onto that electric kite of his a little longer.) He went on to say he believed the great American turkey should grace our coinage.
"He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.“
Well, Mr. Franklin, I doubt you ever hit a turkey going 60 mph down the road in your Pontiac Sunfire. Or were viciously pecked nearly to death by one as a child. Or were chased by one on a four-wheeler as a teen. (I mean the teen was on the four-wheeler. Not the turkey. Don't want any confusion there.) Personally, I feel they are an evil, shady bird. Right behind the demonic emu.
We also had several presidents with driving issues. Ulysses S. Grant, for example, was fined for speeding through the
streets of D.C. ...with a horse and carriage. Reportedly, his vehicle was impounded and he was fined $20. I'm assuming with inflation in the picture, that's about $2.5 million today.
Franklin Pierce, also, may or may not have run over an elderly woman with his horse. Although we may never know considering they never found enough evidence to officially charge him.
One of the most recognizable structures in American history- the White House- has a colorful history of its own. Electricity was not installed in the White House until Benjamin Harrison's presidency. However, due to his intense fear of getting electrocuted, he refused to flip the light switches on and off and requested the staff do it for him.
At one point, alligators could be found prowling the halls and oval office. Herbert Hoover's son had two pet alligators who were occasionally allowed to roam freely. I assume this was an attempt to improve foreign relations, of course.
Our greatest president in history (as far as girth is concerned) actually got stuck in the bathtub. William Taft had to call his advisers to help him unwedge himself out of the tub.
Speaking of baths, John Quincy Adams skinny-dipped in the Potomac every morning. Oh, say can you see...
And lastly, being a staff member during Calvin Coolidge's presidency was rather taxing. Apparently he would press all the buttons in the Oval Office at once and then hide in order to watch the staff run around. Even then a perfect example of excellent tax dollar use.
While some aspects of our history have their humorous points, I'm so very thankful for the brave men and women that helped forge this amazing country.
From the quiet acts hidden from spotlight:
President Buchanan regularly bought slaves in Washington D.C. and then would free them in Pennsylvania.
To bold acts that promote courage:
When Teddy Roosevelt was shot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during an assassination attempt, he wiped the corner of his mouth. After he saw that there was no blood, he concluded the bullet had not entered his lung and finished his ninety minute speech. He later stated he refused to allow the cowardice of the shooter to win.
-we live in a nation unlike any other, full of courage and loyalty.
Several years ago, I was caring for an elderly woman who was wheelchair bound and dying. She still had a quick smile and feisty sense of humor. One morning I noticed a ring on her finger and commented on how beautiful it was. Her eyes got wet and she said, "My husband gave it to me when he came home from Japan. He fought for us there." She fiddled with the ring for a few seconds before saying, "We found out he had to leave so we hurried up and got married. He went over there, and I stayed behind and fought too." She grinned the biggest, most proud grin I've ever seen. "I was a riveteer!" And sitting in her wheelchair with her shaking hands and dentures, she straightened up and flexed her arm for me. "That was the best way I knew how to take care of him over there." I honestly can't remember her name because from that point forward, I called her "Rosie." And she would smile brightly every time she heard it.
A week later, Rosie died. But I've never forgotten that spunky little woman who, in my mind, embodied the American spirit.
To me, that's what America is. People who make mistakes, who love, who live, and who die in one of the greatest countries the world has known. Who realize the privilege they have. And fight for it any way they can.
America is you. And me. And soldiers overseas. And workers in steel mills. And celebrated presidents. And homeless veterans who are proud of what they gave us. And children holding tiny hands over their hearts as the flag goes by. And Friday night football games. And Sunday morning church services.
People who would give their all to defend her if they were called to do so.
Now it's your turn. We love connecting with our followers! Please comment and tell us what some of the things are that you think are "All American." You might be surprised to see where your suggestion ends up. Go!
God bless America!