Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's That Day

Can you imagine living in a country like England? Italy? (Wait, let me check my blog stats. Ok, you, you on the Isle of Man looking for "Jamie Bamber", you don't have to imagine.) My point, such as it is, is that we have almost 225 years of History as a nation, 500 some years (from a European perspective, yes, yes, Lief Erickson, Native Americans, whatnot) to remember. As opposed to having history back to the DAWN of HISTORY or the like. So we don't have to remember much, as compared to the above. Our geography is tougher, sure. That's why we don't know where anything ELSE is in the world. Until there is weapons fire exchanged, then we find out where it is. (I had no idea that Israel was completely surrounded by folk that hate it. After this summer, now I do.)

Anyway, history. American history has some wild stuff in it. (Andrew "Twenty Dollar Bill" Jackson being violently opposed to paper money is a funny bit.) When I was a kid, we learned Columbus, Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, hurry through WWII the school year is almost out, annnnnnd, sorry, time to go home and spend the next four months inside or at the swimming pool. See you next year. I have a basic criteria for minimum knowledge of American history: July 4th, 1776. This is the only DATE I REQUIRE. Know when it is, know what it is, buncha guys in wigs writing on parchment. Bonus points for John Hancock.

I would ask that you know The Civil War is mid 1800s. I have a tough time with the date m'self. You can cheat, sure. Remember that the war started RIGHT after Lincoln's election (I insist you associate the civil was with Lincoln - maybe Gone With the Wind) and so therefore the year must be divisible by four, plus one. Or you can reverse engineer "Four score and seven years".

Know WWII was mid Twentieth Century. Japan, Germany. And here's the other date that while I don't think you HAVE to know, it might be good if it creates a small but distinct tingle when you hear it. If "a day that shall live in infamy" means Ben Afleck to you, then that's just the world we live in. But at least at that point you realize that there are ships involved and people not watching much television.

December 7th, 1941. (Variations of "FDR lied, people died" is a curiously consistent refrain when I google it.)

Here's an interesting article on the Greatest Generation that participated on that day. It's amazing to think that it wasn't' THAT long ago that there were American Civil War vets walking about (mid Nineteenth Century, see above). That people who grew up without radios or telephones or cars (due to technological unavailability, not economic unatainability) one day saw a fella from Dayton walk on an extra-terrestrial rock. (July 20th, 1969 is another big one with me, but it's totally optional.)

So, to recap: Jul 4 1776, mid 1800s, Lincoln, mid 1900s, Germany, Japan. (I'll add Sep 11 2001 when I'm older.)

Happy Birthday Jeff!

1 comment:

Kyrie said...

If "a day that shall live in infamy" means Ben Afleck to you, then that's just the world we live in.

Well, I managed to not ever SEE that movie, so this day still means that it's my father's birthday. And apparently your brother's as well!

Nice piece, I think I'm gonna snag it for my blog today! ;)