The invading British burned the public buildings of Washington 202 years ago today.
On August 24, 1814, as the War of 1812 raged on, invading British troops marched into Washington and set fire to the U.S. Capitol, the President’s Mansion, and other local landmarks. The ensuring fire reduced all but one of the capital city’s major public buildings to smoking rubble, and only a torrential rainstorm saved the Capitol from complete destruction. The blaze particularly devastated the Capitol’s Senate wing, the oldest part of the building, which was honeycombed with vulnerable wooden floors and housed the valuable but combustible collection of books and manuscripts of the Library of Congress, then located in the Capitol building. Heat from the intense fire reduced the Senate chamber’s marble columns to lime, leaving the room, in one description, “a most magnificent ruin.”
Source: U.S. Senate Art & History
After 26 hours in Washington, the British moved toward Baltimore, where they met with resistance and the Star-spangled banner still waved.
People who know anything about anything attribute the “founding” of ISIS to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi in 2004, during the Administration of George W. Bush.
Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction earlier this year.
Yours truly read Ron Chernow’s superb biography of Alexander Hamilton last week and definitely recommend it.
It is long enough however, that I began to root for Burr to get it over with.
The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress on this date in 1776. The name of the holiday today is Independence Day. July 4th is a date.
Independence itself was voted two days earlier, July 2, 1776. We celebrate the anniversary of the birth announcement, not the birth. The signing of the embossed copy we recognize as THE Declaration of Independence began on August 2nd.
Omaha Beach. Photos by Jill, 2009. Click for larger versions.
What a beautifully maintained place.
The grave of Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
The seawall at Omaha.
Next we drove to Pointe du Hoc, famous spot of Ranger glory. When I came in 2000, you could walk out to the point. Now cliff erosion has made it unsafe to get very close.
Me, inside a bomb crater, looking up at Byron.
More craters, and a view toward Utah Beach.
Concrete bunkers still stand all around Pointe du Hoc.
The original barbed wire is still there. Nothing was changed after 1944, because there were no houses right in this area. It still looks remarkably untouched.
But it may have been worth it, to get these photos.
According to the Library of Congress:
In 1868, Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 designating May 30 as a memorial day “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
The first national celebration of the holiday took place May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery … Originally known as Decoration Day, at the turn of the century it was designated as Memorial Day. In many American towns, the day is celebrated with a parade. …
In 1971, federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended it to honor all soldiers who died in American wars. A few states continue to celebrate Memorial Day on May 30.
Jill thanked her grandfather for his service in the U.S. Navy when we visited the World War II Memorial 10 years ago. He said it was the first time anyone had ever thanked him — in 60 years.
Remember all who served — and today particularly those who gave their life.