Thursday, July 10, 2014

Today in History (July 4): Freedom

*Being on vacation in California to visit family has put my today in history series on hold, so I’m going to attempt to catch up. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.*

The most obvious and common “today in history” fact for July 4th is the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. However, did you know that the first celebration of this incredible event wasn’t until twenty years later, in 1796? It’s never too late to begin celebrating those special days that define your journey.

Another event from this day in history was in 1827 when slavery was abolished in the state of New York. I have never, for any reason or in any form, had personal experience with slavery; however, after hearing and reading about it throughout my education and for recent projects I feel I am beginning to scratch the surface of understanding, if only in a limited way. I will be writing about this topic again soon, tying it in with another controversial topic (something to look forward to).

One of my favorite historical events from Independence Day happened in 1892 when the International Date Line changed, creating an extra day (so there were 367 days that year as it was a leap year); because of the time change, there were two July fourths that year – and both were Mondays!

A fifth fun fact for Independence Day was in 1950, with the first Radio Free broadcast in Europe to Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania. It was initially funded by the U.S. Congress through the CIA, and just three years after this first broadcast it reached behind the Iron Curtain into the U.S.S.R.

A sixth and final “today in history” for this most important of summer holidays happened in 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act, a law giving American citizens the right to access information from the federal government. How did you celebrate your freedom this year?

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