Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Birthday, Amerigo Vespucci!


Of course July 4 was Independence Day, America's birthday and wedding anniversary all rolled into one. But only a true patriot and scholar would realize the historical significance of July 5th, the day President-Elect George Washington signed the Declaration of Independence into law. I would wager you haven't heard a single television pundit mention that today is also Bastille Day in France, not to mention D-Day, the day America won the Second World War. You're welcome, mis amis! Ready for some more Very Little Known Facts about today and the country that became the greatest ever in history? (I'm talking about the United States.)

  • The Liberty Bell was cast on July 5, 1776, to mark the one month anniversary of America's independence from Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Purely symbolic, it was never meant to be used, which is why it cracked during the Mardi Gras celebration of 1811. Legend has it that should the crack ever be mended, the American Empire will fall.

  • The only star on the United States Flag that officially stands for a specific state is the second from the left on the top row, which stands for Betsy Ross’s home state of Kentucky.

  • According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are 140 towns and cities in the U.S. that have the word "America" in their names. Ironically, in 6 of those localities the Fourth Of July, Presidents Day, and Flag Day have never been celebrated as holidays because the towns were settled by Norwegians.

  • COINCIDENCE OR CONSPIRACY? Presidents Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and John S. Kennedy were all born on July 5. But not in the same year!

  • July 5, 1776: Paul Revere's "midnight ride" actually took place at 2pm local time, which was midnight Greenwich Mean Time. And he only "rode" down the street to the First Baptist Church of Boston where he climbed to the steeple and used two lanterns to blink out the Morse code message, "The Hessians are coming!"

  • The famous explorer Amerigo Vespucci was named after America.

  • WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE: Most ships bringing immigrants to the Land of Opportunity at the turn of the eighteenth century steamed majestically past the gleaming symbol of freedom standing astride the entrance to New York’s harbor, the Statue of Liberty. This regal site was not for everyone on board, however—certainly not. Only those affluent passengers who could afford First Class cabins were allowed on deck during daylight hours. The “huddled masses learning to be free” were stuck belowdecks in steerage where they were shackled together until being unceremoniously dumped on Ellis Island. Even there makeshift barriers made sure none of the riff-raff saw Lady Liberty until they became American citizens.

13 comments:

Jason Hartley said...

Is it true that China made the first hot dog visible from outer space to celebrate native son Kobayashi's record hot-dog eating performance in New York?

thank you

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Thanks for your comment jason hartley! Many kinds of animals have been sent to the moon and back during the "Cold War missle crises" of the sixties. I believe there have been cats, monkeys and even dogs on the moon. Perhaps in an early effort to get to the moon, a missle caught fire and crashed!!! But I don't think that is what you meant by hot dogs!
Thanks Again!

Jason Hartley said...

That's not what I meant, but I think it's really nice that lots of animals have gotten to go to outer space! I'd like to go to space for sure. Though I probably wouldn't bring a hot dog, LOL.

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Thanks for your comment jason hartley! I was just saying that maybe it was what you meant about the "hot" dogs! But I actually would bring a hot dog, as space is the final frontier!
Thanks again!

- R said...

Jason -

I believe you'll find that Kobayashi is in fact Japanese. However, it is true that it is impossible to eat hot dogs in space.

Jason Hartley said...

Maybe we're talking about a different Kobayashi. Who would have ever thought that there would be TWO of them, and both of them hot-dog-eating champions!

- R said...

Jason -

It seems just as likely as two men named Darryl R. Peebles, both born in 1949, with three children (each with a child born in 1975 and in 1977), both of whose fathers came from small towns and worked on lathes of some kind.

Anonymous said...

What perhaps neither of you realizes is that Kobayashi (the name is pronounced extremely quickly, with the 3 apparent syllables actually running into 2, and with a heavily aspirated K) is simply a politically-correct (i.e., ethnically sensitive) spelling of the formerly Anglisized name "Hibachi," upon which Japanese hot dogs (in Japan, called "hot dogs") are traditonally grilled. So both of you are right, there are many Kobayashis from Japan who are hot dog eating champions!

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear anonymous,

GOOD!

Thanks again.

Opresiminya said...

Just thought you'd want to know that Amerigo Vespucci wasn't named after America. America was named after him.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln's Birthday is not on July 5th just for the record - its Feb 12th.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I would set a few things straight. Jackson was born March 15, 1767; Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809; and the 35th President of the United States was John F. Kennedy, not John S. Kennedy, who was born May 29th. Just so you know there are NO US Presidents that have been born on the 5th of July, however Coolidge was born on the 4th and George W. Bush was born on the 6th. Thomas Jefferson died on July 4th. D-Day was June 6th, 1944 and was not the day the Allies won WWII (on any front), that is V-E Day, May 8th 1945 which marked the end of the war in Europe.D-Day was when the allies invaded the beaches (5 to be exact) of Normandy, France - Operation Overlord(this is considered by most historians to be the turning point of WWII on the western European front)although it was until September that France, Luxembourg, and Belgium were officially freed from Nazi control. Sept. 6th marked the formal surrender of the Pacific front, one month after the bombings of Japan.
Just thought you should know, a little education IS a dangerous thing!

Anonymous said...

Whoa, I was just looking for Amerigo Vespicci, and just so you know, AMERICA was named after Amerigo Vespucci, not the other way around. The idea was inspired by Martin Ward in 1507.