236 years ago today, the United States of America became a nation, kicking off one of the most successful experiments in self-governance recorded to date. As we enjoy today’s festivities, we should remember a few things. First, we should remember that our freedom was both gained and preserved at a high cost; over a million individuals have lost their lives in US military conflict. Second, we should remember that this freedom has no lasting ties here; we are not immune to the human lust for power that has created so many dictatorships and totalitarian regimes. If our freedom is to be preserved, it must be defended from “all enemies, foreign and domestic” (to borrow a phrase some of you may recognize).
So, on our nation’s birthday, reflect on the great sacrifice that has been made for us to be able to live in this great nation. Tomorrow, get back to the work of defending this freedom, so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the same freedom we have enjoyed.
Time for another history lesson; nobody learned from Y2K. Today is January 5, 2010, which is the last year of the first decade of the 21st century. The reason, of course, is very simple - the first year of the Gregorian calendar is 1, not 0. The first year was 1, so the first decade was from 1-10. The tenth decade was 91-100. The second millennium was from 1001-2000, so the “new millennium” did not begin until 2001.
This is different, of course, from birthdays. When one is born, your age is 0; your “first birthday” comes one year after your birth (at the completion of that year). So, when you turn 10, you’ve completed a decade. Your cars’ odometer is the same; it starts at 0, so when it rolls 100,000, you’ve completed your first 100,000 miles. With years starting with 1, we haven’t completed the last year of this decade.
Feel free to buy the hype if you want, but now you’ll be doing it with full knowledge of the facts; just because the tens digit changes doesn’t mean it’s a new decade. Just think - if you get your facts straight, you can have a huge party 359 days from now to celebrate The New Decade!