[Rushtalk] GCF: Independence Days (Serious, Not Humor)

Carl Spitzer winblows at lavabit.com
Wed Jul 3 17:56:58 MDT 2013

-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Thomas S. Ellsworth <tellswor at slonet.org> 
Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2013 12:29:41 -0700


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GCF: Independence Days (Serious, Not Humor)

Dear GCF,

Those of you who have been around this list for awhile know that 
there are a few times during the year that I post something serious. 
99% of what is sent to the Good Clean Fun mailing list is humor, 
however right now I need to be serious for a moment.

Most of us, and by that I mean most of us in the United States, know 
that the Fourth of July is the "birthday" of the United States of 
America. It actually marks the anniversary of the adoption of the 
Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress. Often 
marked by parades and community celebration, it is a symbolic time 
for American families to gather and reflect on their heritage.

Most of us take for granted that this day and all the other U.S. 
holidays are "national" holidays. Did you know that the United States 
observes no national holidays? Specifically, that means holidays 
mandated by the Federal Government. The United States Congress and/or 
President can only legally establish an "official" holiday for the 
District of Columbia and for federal employees. In fact, it wasn't 
until the 20th Century that an order was issued giving federal 
employees a "day off" from work. A public holiday can only be 
established at the local level. Typically the observance of holidays 
happens at the state level with the enactment of a state law or by an 
executive proclamation by a state governor.

I first started posting this piece in July 2000. After I posted it, I 
received an email from Jen in Alberta, Canada. She asked me why I 
only mentioned the U.S. holidays. She surmised that it was because I 
was from the U.S. and to that extent, she is right. The U.S. 
holidays, especially the ones dealing with independence, veterans, 
and those who died for this country, are special to me. And since 
Good Clean Fun is 99% humor, I certainly don't want to veer from that 
basic premise and turn this into a history site. But Jen did start me 
to thinking, so I did a bit of research about my neighbors: Canada and

Look back at the subject of this email. It is Independence "Days" - 
plural. So let me take a moment and briefly honor my neighbors:

1. Canada celebrates its Independence on July 1st. The British North 
America Act created the Canadian federal government on July 1, 1867. 
This Act proclaimed "one Dominion under the name of Canada," hence 
the original title of the holiday as "Dominion Day." July 1st has 
also been known in Canada as "Confederation Day." On October 27, 
1982, the Canadian Parliament officially renamed the holiday as "Canada

2. Mexico celebrates many national and religious holidays. I must 
admit that I always thought that Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May, was 
Mexico's Independence Day, but a bit of research proved me wrong. 
While Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday, it honors the Mexican 
defeat of the French army at Puebla in 1862. September 16th is 
Mexican Independence Day and it celebrates the day that Miguel 
Hidalgo delivered "El Grito de Dolores", and announced the Mexican 
revolt against Spanish rule.

3. Let me add a third "neighbor" albeit one a bit farther away than 
just north or south of the US. A ways back, Michelle emailed me to 
tell of Australia Day which is celebrated down under on January 26th. 
That is the day Australia became a nation in its own right.

So, let's all be proud of and reflect on our heritage.

Have a great holiday,

PS: Don't forget to fly the flag!

Many of you will not remember Red Skelton, one of the best comedians 
of all time. Occasionally he would veer from comedy to a more serious 
moment. My favorite piece of this serious/patriotic genre was done 
many, many years ago where he divided the Pledge of Allegiance into 
individual words and phrases in order to explain the meaning of each 
one. The piece can be found at:


It also contains a link where you can hear Red's comments in his own 
voice. Or even view the piece as he presented it way back in 1969. I 
highly recommend it.

Finally, let's remember that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth 
of July is more than beer, picnics, and baseball games.


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