Sorry to be so late with this, but I’ve been hampered by limited Internet access for the last few months. To update this blog, I’ve connected at libraries, coffee shops, relatives’ guest rooms and on the fly, with my  Blackberry (ugh). All this has changed, though, because, as of today, I’m back up and running on a smooth cable modem.  

In case you were on another planet last weekend, there were some terrific Fourth of July posts, thanks to some of our readers:

Citizen K, Parsley’s Pics and Darlene’s Hodgepodge put the Declaration of Independence in a new light. Find the complete document at Cab Drollery.

Write a note to yourself to read this Grey Matters column at Time Goes By, any day of the year. Saul Friedman looks at the confluence of race and states’ rights, and how it has threatened the health of the union since the Civil War.

After you’ve read Saul’s piece, jump over to The Smart Set for a fascinating story about the week-long reunion of Civil War veterans held near the Gettysburg battlefield in 1913. Why hasn't this been made into a film? Here's a sample and link to a slide show guaranteed to knock you out:

In 1913 our nation, led by the government of Philadelphia, put together a Fourth of July extravaganza designed to hail the end of American disunity. The Great Reunion of 1913 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the subsequent years of relative peace and harmony (save a “splendid little war” with Spain that lasted only four months).

The Great Reunion of 1913 was an amazing historical event, the largest gathering ever of Civil War veterans, who came together for a week of solidarity and celebration. On July 4, President Woodrow Wilson arrived and made a speech. But it was July 3that people remember most. As part of the week’s festivities, thousands of old veterans — most in their 70s, the oldest 112 — took their respective places on the former battlefield and commenced with a tottering reenactment of Pickett’s Charge. At 3 p.m., the surviving Confederate soldiers of General Pickett’s division stormed Cemetery Ridge, a clattering assortment of long beards and crutches and canes. Slowly approaching the stone fence at Bloody Angle, some of the codgers croaked out the rebel yell when they were “surprised” by a group of men from the former Union Philadelphia Brigade. But instead of shooting each other, they all shook hands across the stone wall and exchanged ceremonial flags. Some fell into each other’s arms, weeping. Other just sat down in silence and looked sadly across the field.
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