One of my hobbies each day is to take a quick glance at the historical events in this particular day. As it turns out, July 8 is a pretty significant day for many areas of our world’s history. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
In 1741, Jonathan Edwards, one of the more powerful preachers of the 18th century, preached the famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” as part of the Great Awakening in New England, a powerful time of religious revival.
1776 saw the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1796, the first US passport was issued. It/they were issued to Benjamin Franklin’s entourage to France.
In 1835, the Liberty Bell cracked a second and final time, never to be rung again. I actually recall in 1984, visiting the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and at that time, the US Park Service employee encouraged all of us to actually reach out and touch the bell itself, as he declared that the bell belonged to all Americans and we should experience it fully. What a different world we lived in before Sept. 11, 2001…
1870 saw the first US registration of trademarks.
In 1911 – “only” 110 years ago, Nan Aspinwall became the first woman to make a solo transcontinental trip by horse. Talk about saddle sores! Of course, by then the US had over 353,000 miles of railroad tracks laid down, and in 1908, the Model T was introduced, so the idea of riding a horse across the country was not really something to be remembered.
In 1932 on this date, we hit the low point of the Dow Jones Industrials in the Depression – 41.22 points. The opening number for the DJI today? 34,681.79, which happened 89 years later.
1947 saw the crash landing of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico. Is there anyone at all who DOESN’T believe it happened?
In 1981, 40 years ago, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman confirmed for the Supreme Court with a Senate vote of 99-0. Let’s bring back that good ol’ day, for sure.
And the most mysterious and puzzling event on this day happened in 939ad, when the “major Occultation” of Muhammad al-Mahdi occurred. One of the cornerstones of Shia Islam, which really makes it quite a martyred and strange sect of Islam, Mahdi was known as the “12th imam,” or the “Hidden Imam.” “Occultation” means “absence,” and it is believed by the Shiites that Mahdi will continue to be hidden from the world until he reappears at the end of time.
So, there you have it. I didn’t mention Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo harbor, or the first dictator of the current North Korean family died, or the city of Quebec was founded by Champlain, or lots of other important stuff for our world.
History, as you know, carries the treasure of the past, and the tragedy is that so many pieces of that past part of our world are often lost forever with time. People forget. One of the reasons I study family history is to at least open the door to my own family’s past, and to remember what I never knew.
I would encourage you to write – to put down either in pen and ink or on a computer hard drive everything you can possibly remember about your own life, and the experiences that made you you. Tell the folklore of your own family tree – they may not all be true, but more than likely, they are at least interesting, and perhaps someone in the future will work to validate them, or correct them, or uncover new items of the past. Without our history, we all end up living accidental lives, quickly forgotten, and as quickly ignored, instead of being cherished. Every one of us should become storytellers, and invite those who are younger to hear part of our world’s history, as we intentionally share who we are, who we have been, and from whom we have come as we live these years on our planet.
Blessings to you, on this day, July 8, 2021.
Word for the day: rigmarole, or rigamarole. Pronounced like it reads, RIG-a-mah-roll. It’s an old and fairly convoluted term. Apparently from the Middle Ages, it was originally a game of sorts known as “ragman,” in which a player selected a verse as part of a group of verses that others then had to guess the origin of, It was tied to the term, ragman roll, or a list or catalog of different verses, supposedly created by a king somewhere. It fell into non-use for a long time, until about the 18th century (see how long some things hang around?), when it came to refer to a succession of confused or meaningless sentences. Finally in the 19th century, it became defined as a complex or confusing bunch of procedures needed to be followed.
“That’s just a bunch of rigamarole, if you ask me…” People use the word often, guessing the negative meaning, but never knowing the origin. Now you do!
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.