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How America defeated John, Paul, George, Ringo and won its independence

From A to Zowie

Richard re-examines Fourth of July history

Or:

How America defeated John, Paul, George, Ringo and won its independence

By Richard Zowie

(This column was published in the July 7, 2010 issue of the Clio, Michigan-based Mt. Morris/Clio Birch Run/Bridgeport Herald)

This past Sunday was the Fourth of July, that magical time of year when we eat lots of food, relax and then at night watch the night sky light up with fireworks.

If you’re like me and have so much time and so little to do, you probably have wondered why we celebrate our nation’s independence with fireworks. We do so to honor Francis Scott Key, who was the Father of Locksmithing* (hence the surname Key) and wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” while the British were bombing New York City due to The Big Apple blocking London’s view of Baltimore.

Another example of the use of fireworks in American independence: General George Washington put a lit firecracker into the pocket of British commander, General Corn Wallis. General Wallis then ran around screaming “The Americans are coming! The Americans are coming!” before signing an agreement recognizing American independence. Thankfully, Ben Franklin, who was an immigrant from the Notary Republic, was there to notarize and make it official.

A few years earlier, a bunch of rabble-rousers met in Philadelphia in 1776 to write a document with the working title “King George III of England, We Sticketh Our Tongues Outeth at Thee!” After some consideration, they chose the more civil “The Declaration of Independence” since they figured King George III would probably not be in a very good mood upon reading it.

These colonists, of course, were very unhappy about all the excessive taxing levied on them by England: the stamp tax, the sugar tax, the tea tax, the Wii tax, the income tax, and the tacks tax. There was even a tax levied on wooden teeth, which made General Washington particularly angry since his men would laugh hilariously whenever he’d try to give orders without his wooden teeth in his mouth. This is why Washington never, ever smiled in any of his portraits.

The drafting of the Declaration took several days amid the sweltering heat of Philadelphia. Perhaps noteworthy in the discussion was Franklin’s famous words about the weather. Franklin, who had discovered electricity, famously uttered: “Tis my hope somebody someday will useth electricity to discovereth air conditioning—not to mentioneth underarm deodorant!”

It would take about 150 years for these inventions to be done since nobody at Freedom Hall understood what Franklin meant by “air conditioning” or “underarm deodorant”.

We know the rest of the story, of course: King George angrily sent troops to crush the rebellion. To torture captured American prisoners of war, he made them listen to Amy Winehouse’s music. This allowed the British Army to make several gains before General Washington and his men at frigid Valley Forge were able to thwart the British Invasion led by the Fab Four British soldiers John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. It was at this fateful battle that Paul was inspired to write those immortal words, “Yesterday/All my troubles seemed so far away/Now it looks as though the U.S.A.’s here to stay/Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

It must’ve indeed been a hard day’s night for the American troops as they literally worked eight days a week so that we could all eat, drink and watch fireworks.

*Actually, according to my brother-in-law, Joe Martin, who owns Beeville, Texas-based ABC Lock and Keys, Linus Yale designed what is considered to be the modern lock.

Richard Zowie’s a reporter and columnist for the Herald. Visit his blog at http://www.fromatozowie.wordpress.com or e-mail him at fromatozowie@gmail.com.

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