WASHINGTON, April 19, 2013 — We shouldn’t expect historical accuracy from our President. The not-quite-a-constitutional-law professor who wasn’t born in Kenya simply missed a lot of history lessons, as he and Michelle walked hand in hand through the streets of Boston, back in his sealed-record college days.
Using Boston’s Holy Cross Cathedral as his backdrop, he actually said a few touching things, delivering emotional rhetoric in the best Jesse Jackson style, as he made sure to grab another opportunity to interject himself as healer of another tragedy.
But we’re used to his wrapping everything around himself. This isn’t another column about how much damage this president is doing to America politically, morally, and economically; it’s more of a historical tale.
For days, the president and media have been calling Monday, April 15, “Patriots’ Day,” that day when, on patches of ground at Lexington and Concord, a scruffy patriotic militia and the finest army in the world first heard the “shot heard ‘round the world.”
Since 1969 we have celebrated Patriots’ Day on the third Monday of April (the 15th this year), but that’s just the holiday. Patriots’ Day, April 19 — today — celebrates that day in 1775 when all the diplomacy and rhetoric, hand wringing and compliance, suffering and submission, finally turned into action. Although it would be more than another year before it was formalized, the American War of Independence had begun.
The patriots didn’t care which day of the week it was (it was a Wednesday, by the way), and they didn’t need to wait to integrate their activities into an extended week-end so they could spend an extra day on the lake, roasting hot dogs and drinking beer. All they knew was, the time had come.
And yes, the first Boston Marathon was run on Patriots’ Day (yes, a Monday) in 1897. That neither established nor changed Patriots’ Day; it was merely a good day for the Boston Marathon.
April 19 is important in America’s history, in years other than 1775. Eight years after the commencement of the War, in 1783, George Washington officially announced Congress’s approval of the Treaty of Paris (which they had actually approved on April 15; final exchange of paperwork happened in May of 1784), effectively ending hostilities between England and the new, independent United States of America.
In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln picked that day to formally blockade Southern ports, an acknowledgment that internecine war was indeed a fact.
President Franklin Roosevelt ironically picked Patriots’ Day 1933 to take the US off the gold standard, starting an international inflationary spiral that continues today, impoverishing savers while enriching borrowers and bankers.
The (some say intentionally) botched Pay of Pigs invasion on April 19, 1961 succeeded in handing Cuba’s last resistance fighters over to Fidel Castro.
No one conscious on April 19, 1993 will ever forget the end of the government’s 51-day siege of a church community known as Mt. Carmel, on the outskirts of Waco, Texas. The government assault that day took the lives of nearly eighty people, some seventeen of them children (and none of whom were under indictment for any crime), in a fiery assault that was effectively covered up in a years-long effort coordinated by the FBI, Janet Reno’s Justice Department, and then-US Representative Charles Schumer.
Exactly two years later, a disaffected former Army Sergeant (E5) named Timothy McVeigh was “the man on the ground” in a conspiracy to blow up the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, allegedly in retaliation for Waco. Though the FBI had offices in that building, all FBI personnel were ordered to do field work that day, and none of their children were in the day care center, where the children of other federal workers were among the 168 dead.
No, Mr. President, you’re wrong again. Patriots’ Day is a very important (if sometimes tragic) day in American history, but it’s not Tax Day, and it’s not Boston Marathon Day.
Note: To be fair, April 15 may indeed be the President’s “patriots’ day,” since it’s, well, it’s the day he gets another chance to self-righteously plunder the productive people of the country, while snooping into their lives without the kind of resistance real Patriots would have provided.
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