Independence Day - July 4, 2018
This legal holiday in the United States and its territories commemorates adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
(Historical Note: This independence movement of our founding fathers has lasted this long in spite of the claims of other political frameworks claiming to be superior to ours. (Not to put too fine a point on it but liberal, socialist, communist and others governments not of the people, for the people, and by the people.}
Ronald Reagan's July 4th Message:
During his presidency Ronald Reagan wrote a moving article celebrating the holiday.
Reagan wrote that the founding fathers "...sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, 3 million square miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In recent years, however, I've come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.
"It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.
"Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.
"Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.
"We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should."
SlideShow: Memorial Day, Pilsen, the Czech Republic
First U.S. fatality in the Korean War
July 5, 1950
Headline: First U.S. fatality in the Korean War
Near Sojong, South Korea, Private Kenneth Shadrick, a 19-year-old infantryman from Skin Fork, West Virginia, becomes the first American reported killed in the Korean War. Shadrick, a member of a bazooka squad, had just fired the weapon at a Soviet-made tank when he looked up to check his aim and was cut down by enemy machine-gun fire.
Near the end of World War II, the “Big Three” Allied powers–the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain–agreed to divide Korea into two separate occupation zones and temporarily govern the nation. The country was split along the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces occupying the northern zone and Americans stationed in the south. By 1949, separate Korean governments had been established, and both the United States and the USSR withdrew the majority of their troops from the Korean Peninsula. The 38th parallel was heavily fortified on both sides, but the South Koreans were unprepared for the hordes of North Korean troops and Soviet-made tanks that suddenly rolled across the border on June 25, 1950.
Two days later, President Harry Truman announced that the United States would intervene in the Korean conflict to stem the spread of communism, and on June 28 the United Nations approved the use of force against communist North Korea. In the opening months of the war, the U.S.-led U.N. forces rapidly advanced against the North Koreans, but in October, Chinese communist troops entered the fray, throwing the Allies into a hasty retreat. By May 1951, the communists were pushed back to the 38th parallel, where the battle line remained for the rest of the war.
In 1953, an armistice was signed, ending the war and reestablishing the 1945 division of Korea that still exists today. Approximately 150,000 troops from South Korea, the United States, and participating U.N. nations were killed in the Korean War, and as many as one million South Korean civilians perished. An estimated 800,000 communist soldiers were killed, and more than 200,000 North Korean civilians died.
The original figure of American troops lost–54,246 killed–became controversial when the Pentagon acknowledged in 2000 that all U.S. troops killed around the world during the period of the Korean War were incorporated into that number. For example, any American soldier killed in a car accident anywhere in the world from June 1950 to July 1953 was considered a casualty of the Korean War. If these deaths are subtracted from the 54,246 total, leaving just the Americans who died (from whatever cause) in the Korean theater of operations, the total U.S. dead in the Korean War numbers 36,516.
Wow! Friday the 13th falls on Friday this month!"It is bad luck to fall out a 13 story window on Friday."
(The Ol'Kunnel thanks the late Walt Kelly for this enduring reminder of the day.)
BASTILLE DAY - JULY 14, 2018
Place de la Bastille
Today this notorious square is surrounded by a busy traffic circle, which is not the best spot for contemplating its grim history. Originally the Bastille was a fortress built by Charles V to defend the eastern edge of Paris, but it soon became a jail for political prisoners. Angry citizens, rising up against the excesses of the monarchy, stormed the Bastille on 14 July 1789, setting off the French Revolution, and destroyed this hated symbol of oppression. IN its place is the bronze Colonne de Juillet [July Column] 71 feet high and crowned by the Angel of Liberty, which commemorates those who died in the revolutions of 1830 and 1848. Looming behind it is the Opera Bastille, the largest opera house in the world, which opened on the bicentennial of the Revolution in 1989.
LUNAR ECLIPSE - JULY 27, 2018
Lucky stargazers will see the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century; also known as a blood moon. The nearly two-hour total eclipse will be visible to people in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to NASA.
Blood moons are not unusual occurrences. Still, these dramatic celestial events have inspired both awe and alarm throughout the centuries, including among some fringe segments of American Christianity that take the appearance of blood moons to be a sign that the apocalypse is drawing nearer.