Battle Of Antietam

Important Anniversaries To Commemorate!

The last few days have seen some important anniversaries worthy of mention.

On September 14, the day that THE ROOSEVELTS Ken Burns series started on PBS, it was the 113th anniversary of the accession of Theodore Roosevelt to the Presidency, due to the assassination of President William McKinley, who had been shot on September 6, and died eight days later.  It was no accident that the Ken Burns series, the best documentary in many years, started on that significant day, marking the beginning of the transformation of the American Presidency over the next century and more!

On September 17, two important anniversaries were noted.  The 227th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution by the Founding Fathers, a group which saw a need for a strong national government and broad interpretation of the Constitution, as shown through Article 1, Section 8, the “elastic clause”, was celebrated as Constitution Day.  The right wing conservatives and most Republicans of the 2014 variety, including the despicable Tea Party Fascists, have tried to distort the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, and this warping of the Founding Fathers must be fought to reverse the damage done by these groups!

Also, September 17 marks the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, at Antietam, Maryland, in 1862, the 152nd anniversary of that tragic event, and an important moment for the Union in its battle, under Abraham Lincoln, to preserve the Union.

Also, today, September 18, is the 163rd anniversary of the NEW YORK TIMES, still the best newspaper in America, despite some notable shortcomings over the years.

So we have a lot to note and commemorate in mid September!

September 17: A Day To Honor And A Day To Mourn!

As we wake up on September 17, we mourn the deaths of 12 people in the US Navy Yards in Washington, DC, by a crazed gunman, who loved violent video games and had access to guns despite two incidents in his past, that should have made him ineligible for buying or possessing firearms, another example of the violence and insanity that permeates American society, and endangers all of us, including our President, who has had more death threats and plots against him than any occupant of the Oval Office!

And we awaken to the anniversary of three historic events that stand out, two that we can be proud of, and one which we continue to mourn!

On this day, in 1787, 226 years ago, the Founding Father generation, the true statesmen of our history, signed the Constitution, and we were on our way to the creation of the greatest government ever to walk the face of the earth, with the understanding that compromise had been necessary to achieve progress, something we have lost sight of in these difficult times we are living through.

On this day, in 1978, 35 years ago, President Jimmy Carter finished the accomplishment of bringing together the leaders of Israel and Egypt in the Camp David Accords. These were two nations that had gone to war against each other multiple times, who now engaged in a peace treaty that still endures in these unstable times in the Middle East.

Sadly, this is also the 151st Anniversary of the bloodiest battle in American history, the Battle of Antietam in Maryland in 1862 during the Civil War, which led to the death of almost 4,000 soldiers, and a total of 23,000 casualties in total.

So there is a lot to reflect upon and think about on this historic day, September 17, as we mourn the death of more gun violence victims!

A Day To Celebrate Promotion Of Human Rights: 150th Anniversary Of Emancipation Proclamation!

Today marks the most momentous day in all of American history, regarding the promotion of human rights! It is the 150th anniversary of the issuance by President Abraham Lincoln of the Emancipation Proclamation!

Lincoln had issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, five days after the bloody Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in the Civil War. His entire cabinet was opposed to what he did, and had doubts about the final issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation 100 days later.

But Abraham Lincoln had the guts, the courage, the conviction that ending slavery was an essential part of the advancement of American democracy, and would help promote the victory of the Union forces over the Confederacy.

Lincoln knew that the Emancipation Proclamation was only a pledge to end slavery, and that the only true way to bring it about was military victory, and the passage two years later of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, an event excellently portrayed in the movie LINCOLN, with Daniel Day-Lewis portraying the events leading to the passage of that amendment by the House of Representatives.

Slavery’s end did not mean an easy time or adjustment for African Americans or the nation, as racial violence and discrimination would be a sad part of the future, but it was a necessary step forward on the march of human rights, including later passage of the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment, the 26th Amendment, the various Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968), and significant Supreme Court decisions on civil rights of women, minorities, labor, young people, and gays and lesbians.

The march of time has been toward the granting of greater human rights, but it all began with Lincoln’s courageous gamble, 150 years ago today, and for that, as so much else, all Americans should salute him today!

And it is inspiring to see massive lines at the National Archives in Washington, DC, as the Emancipation Proclamation is on view for a limited time to celebrate the event, but with the need to preserve a document which is in fragile condition after a century and a half of existence.

What Lincoln did in 1863 is connected to the whole long range story of American history, the expansion of human rights for all, and this is what draws foreigners to wish to come to America, the land of liberty and opportunity!

September 17, and Mid September: A Momentous Time Historically In America

Today, 225 years ago, 39 delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the Constitution, hoping it would keep America united as a nation.

150 years ago today, the fears they had of an America dividing reached its peak of death and destruction, with the Battle of Antietam, which killed and wounded more soldiers on one day than any other battle of the Civil War, and indeed, more than on D Day on June 6, 1944.

And four years ago, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, the stock market was reeling from its greatest collapse since the Great Depression of 1929, putting us into the Great Recession, which although technically over, still has an impact on America and its Presidential election in 2012!

Mid September has been a bad time for America historically, with the death of President William McKinley by assassination on September 14, 1901, and the death of President James Garfield by assassination on September 19, 1881, as additional moments of trial and tribulation!

150th Anniversary Of Bloodiest Military Day In History Of American Wars: The Battle Of Antietam, September 17, 1862

Tomorrow will mark the 150th Anniversary of the bloodiest one day battle of the Civil War and of all American history—the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland, which took more loss of life than even D Day on June 6, 1944.

Almost 23,000 casualties on both sides occurred on September 17, 1862–with almost 3,700 dead, and 17,200 wounded and 1,800 captured or missing.

The total losses that day surpassed double the total of the entirety of the War Of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Spanish American War combined!

This battle stopped the Confederate advance further north than it had ever been in the war, and only the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 saw a further advance, also stopped by the Union Army.

The battle decided that the British and French would hold off on recognition of the Confederacy, and also led to the decision of Abraham Lincoln to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

This author was fortunate to have visited the Antietam Battlefield in 2011, and today, there is a reenactment of the battle being conducted, and being covered by C Span 3, an excellent source for American history on a regular basis.

Visiting Antietam would sober anyone as to the loss of life, and yet, the principles being fought about during the Civil War, which led to such massive deaths, would be better understood!