By tradition going all the way back to - well - last year, the rabbit sends 4th July greetings to his American readers. By tradition, the greetings are a day late. Last year I posted Brad Neely's Washington and Bruce's Darlington County -http://ohdearohdearishallbelate.blogspot.com/2008/07/4th-july.html - This year a story - American readers will have to bear me if this is well trodden ground for them - the story is hardly known over here. The snake - rattlesnake to be accurate - thing begins with Benjamin Franklin and a political cartoon made as a woodcut during the French and Indian war featuring a snake chopped into eight bits. The snake represented eight colonies with New England as the head and South Carolina as the tip of the tail in order as per the east coast. the slogan was 'join (later unite) or die'.
The snake began to become a symbol for the colonies as independence grew closer. The United States navy was established in 1775 and set about recruiting Marines to help intercept British ships bringing military supplies. The first Marines (from Philadelphia) they carried drums painted yellow, depicting a coiled rattlesnake with thirteen rattles and the motto 'don't tread on me'. The flag above is called the Gadsden Flag after a Colonel Gadsden of South Carolina who presented the yellow rattlesnake flag to the Commander of the US Navy and to the South Carolina Legislature. The flag is still sort of in use and associated with the US Marines. It is also associated sometimes with right wing extremism, which is a pity as it is a fun flag and a fun story.
Okay, here are the elderly gents with Uncle John's Band, including the lines...
'Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like? Their walls are built of cannonballs, their motto is don't tread on me...'
Ending on a distinctly non-American topic, the rabbit is counting the days down to resumption of the greatest - as well as one of the most historic - sporting conflicts in the entire history of everything. Come on you Aussie bastards - BRING IT ONNNNN!!!!!!