|Photo by Semnoz via Wikimedia Commons|
by Peggy Robin
My Fourth of July column may be a day late but let me make up for it by treating you to a fireworks display from a perspective you’ve never seen before. This video was shot from a camera mounted on a drone flying through the bursts in the sky. http://gearjunkie.com/drone-through-fireworks
While we celebrated the 238th birthday of our country yesterday, it’s worth remembering that not all guests at the party have been able to enjoy it in the same spirit – and this sobering lesson was perhaps most eloquently expressed in 1852 by Frederick Douglass in his speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July? http://pages.uoregon.edu/mjdennis/courses/hst456_douglass.htm
More entertaining, though still dealing with issues that are serious at the core, is this video about what being an American means to those of us who live in something other than one of the 50 States. This 6:23 minute clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASSOQDQvVLU educates us, not just about our own familiar plight of life without a vote in Congress here in DC but also covers the Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas, plus a number of unincorporated, unorganized territories you probably never have heard of: Howland Island, Baker Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, and Palmyra Atoll, to name a few.
I try not to let DC’s lack of clout in Congress dampen my spirts for our national day. I just like fireworks too much. In fact, I’ll take any country’s celebratory day as a time as an excuse to light up the sky. During the first two weeks of July, oddly enough, there is a plethora of patriotic holidays for countries around the globe. Take a look at the list:
Abkhazia July 4 1993 Liberation Day from Georgia.
Algeria July 5 1962 Independence from France.
Argentina July 9 1816 Independence from the Spanish Empire.
Bahamas July 10 1973 Independence from the United Kingdom.
Belarus July 3 1944 The liberation of Minsk during WWII.
Burundi July 1 1962 Independence from Belgium.
Canada July 1 1867 New Constitution creates Dominion of Canada
Cape Verde July 5 1975 Independence from Portugal.
Comoros July 6 1975 Independence from France.
France July 14 1789 French Revolution begins with fall of the Bastille.
Malawi July 6 1964 Independence from the United Kingdom.
Rwanda July 1 1962 Independence from Belgium.
São Tomé & Príncipe July 12 1975 Independence from Portugal.
Solomon Islands July 7 1978 Independence from the UK.
Somalia July 1 1960 Formation of the Somali Republic.
South Sudan July 9 2011 Independence from Sudan in 2011.
USA July 4 1776 Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.
Venezuela July 5 1811 Declaration of independence from Spain.
[Credit: Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/1tP9wCf]
The first two weeks of July comprise just 3.8 percent of the year (14 days divided by 365 days), and yet 18 out of 196 countries, or 9.1 percent of all countries, have their independence day during that time period – which is to say, almost 2 and a half times the number of national days in that time as would be predicted by chance. Why is July such a popular time for national days? Perhaps because more revolutions are sparked during the heat of the summer when tempers tend to flare and people are more restive? Or it could be nothing more than a statistical anomaly, a number without a cause. Have I given some history Ph.D. candidate a research topic?
If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you might like to view this map of national days around the world, as shown on the website Vox: http://www.vox.com/2014/7/3/5867599/heres-a-map-of-other-countries-versions-of-4th-of-july. If you read the accompanying article, you will learn the answer to the bonus question: What two countries do not have a national day? To all the rest, Happy National Day [Country], whenever that may be!
Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.