Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ben Franklin Day

this is an audio post - click to play

Happy Ben Franklin Day! What, you've never heard of Ben Franklin Day? That's understandable, since it doesn't actually exist.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Junior, Day, which does exist. It's a National Holiday to commemorate the birth of the greatest American civil rights leader in modern history. I'm sure you've heard of that one.

Next month we'll observe Presidents Day, one day set aside to commemorate the births of George Washington -- the father of our country -- and Abraham Lincoln -- the great emancipator and civil war hero..

I purposefully didn't post this yesterday in honor of Doctor King. Though I recognize him as a great American, I'm not sure that he actually warrants such recognition as a holiday that closes all banks and Federal offices. More accurately than civil rights leader, Doctor King was a black rights leader. On April 3, 1968, one day before his tragic murder, Doctor King gave a very Mosaic speech, in which he likened the plight of the blacks to that of the Israelites that Moses led out Egypt. By extension one can conclude that Doctor King likened himself -- as leader of the black rights movement -- to Moses -- a man chosen by God to deliver His Commandments to the people. Again, I recognize that Doctor King was a great American. I'm just not sure that his greatness was of Mosaic proportion.

And what of other great Americans? Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War and restored pride and patriotism to Americans. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, without which you wouldn't be reading this now. Thomas Jefferson wrote the documents upon which this great democracy stands. And Benjamin Franklin: statesman and founding father, author, inventor, discoverer of electricity, and so much more.

Benjamin Franklin would be 300 years old today -- seventy years older than the country he helped found. Had it not been for men like Benjamin Franklin, America would know no Ronald Reagans, Abraham Lincolns, or Martin Luther Kings. But for men like Benjamin Franklin, the world would know no America, nor democracy.

Happy Birthday, Ben, and Happy Ben Franklin Day to everyone else!


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