"The Summer looks out from her brazen tower through the flashing bars of July."
- Francis Thompson
Yikes! Where was I yesterday, not writing a lick all day on the 1st day of July, a day absolutely vibrating, resonating with all manner of commemoration? Painting, that's where & what or else I'd have noted here that s sublimely hideous & horrific battle began at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1863, as the long, uncomfortable, dreadful of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was grinding to an end. And too, speaking of the wretched & grievous, the Battle of the Somme began, July 1,1916. On a far & away brighter note, yesterday was Olivia de Haviland's birthday. The great lady of the movies completed 94 years of life. And today? The 2nd? Had John Adams vision of the future been realized, this day, "the second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore." And why? Because it was on that Glorious Second of July that J.A.'s fellow delegates at the 2nd Continental Congress, agreed with R. H. Lee's resolution, that the "United Colonies" ought to be free & independent States. But it'll be the day after tomorrow when my little dog will be all a'tremble over the racket hereabouts because it was on the 4th that the delegates agreed on the final draft of the D. of I. So there you go. Long live the Republic.
James A. Garfield survived childhood poverty and the Civil War, but not his Presidency. It was on this summer day in 1881, that he walked into the big train station in Washington, DC, no idea that his assassin was waiting. Some years later, July 2, 1908, a future Supreme Court Justice was born: baby Thurgood Marshall. Does the knowledge of these factoids alter today? Perhaps not, but those long-gone suffering soldiers and courageous delegates in Philadelphia are worth remembering. And perhaps remembering is its own reward.