July 30, 2009

Publisher’s Corner

jimeloiseBy: Jim & Eloise Graham

I love July! It’s usually the hottest month of the year, has less rain and more bugs, but I don’t care. It’s part of the summer and I can’t get enough of it.

Fourth of July! It’s one I remember from when I was a kid. Back in those days there were firecrackers you could use. There were tiny ones and big ones. Some were called M-80’s. Originally they were made in the early 20th century by the U.S. Military to simulate bombs. Later they were manufactured as fireworks. M-80’s were made from small red cardboard tubes approximately 1 1/2 inches long and 5/8 inches in diameter holding approximately 2 1/2 to 3 grams of powder. Boy, did they make a boom! Editor’s comment: Boy did I hate them!

Another big firecracker was called a cherry bomb. From the 1940s, the common color was deep pink or red and had a green fuse. That’s why they called them cherry salutes or cherry bombs. Another big boom, but not as big as the M-80’s.

Editor’s comment again: I hated those, too! I liked the little lady fingers and Roman candles.

In 1966 M-80’s and cherry bombs were banned in the United States. (Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Child Protection Act of 1966). I call it “The Big Brother.” It’s a book you should read if you haven’t. Many other countries have M-80’s, cherry bombs and others that are legally produced, sold and used.

Freedom in the United States was a wonderful idea, and the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence believed in it. They were not wildeyed, rebel-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Together they said, “We mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” Imagine how they would react to seeing how their freedom has been chipped away, much starting in the 1930s.

Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, died on July 4, 1826 at noon in his home in Virginia. The day he died was the 50th anniversary of the document’s signing. Ironically, John Adams of Massachusetts the second President of the United States, who supported the Declaration of Independence, died just a few hours later on the same day.

Amendment 26, which set the voting age at 18 in the United States, was proclaimed July 5, 1971. I remember how important it was. I was already 21 years old but felt men being sent to Vietnam 18 years old should be able to vote.

George W. Bush was the 43rd President of the United States. He was born July 6, 1946. I feel he was the best President we’ve had since Ronald Reagan. It’ll be many years, when we’re all dead, that historians will write about how well President Bush did. I’m sure it will include that he kept our country safe.

Fly your colors with pride! The red, white and blue!

The fifth Boy Scout Law is Courteous.

“A Scout is Courteous. He is polite to all, especially to women, children, old people and the weak and helpless. He must not take pay for being helpful or courteous.”

This is just another way of saying “A Scout is a gentleman.” Courtesy comes from the heart, and goes hand in hand with friendship. Part of the training of plebes at West Point and Annapolis includes training in the courtesies of “an officer and a gentleman.” (from the 1948 “Handbook for Boys” from the Boy Scouts of America)

In the first pages of the “Handbook for Boys” it says, “This Handbook represents the experiences of many people – experts in Scouting and experts in technical lines. It is written for the boys of the nation. It is our hope that it will inspire you and help you to be watchful for opportunities to help other people, to be tolerant and respectable of the rights of others, to be courageous and self-reliant – in other words to be a good American.”

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous…… Believe it. Live It.

Looking forward to August. That’s the month Eloise and I got married. See you then.

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