Well, the Fourth of July holiday is over. How did you celebrate?
Did you have a cookout on the back deck or patio with family and friends, then watch fireworks? Or maybe the family went to the local park and had a picnic with grandparents, aunts and uncles, then watched fireworks? Maybe your Independent Day included a softball or an American Legion baseball tournament? Or perhaps you went to a band concert of patriotic music and then watched a community-sponsored fireworks show? Or if you’re from another country, you did nothing at all, beyond watching a news roundup of how Americans celebrated their Fourth of July.
Back in 2011 when I worked as a reporter for a North Carolina weekly newspaper, I decided to do a look-back feature story on bygone Fourth of July celebrations. I looked online and in the local library, searching for folksy accounts of turn-of-the-century festivities – Independence Day during the 1900 era, not the year 2000. I got a history lesson on the South after the Civil War.
Online, I found all kinds of photos of men and women in parades and at church picnics, wearing patriotic attire, the clothing style late-Victorian. But they were all from states like California, Iowa, Ohio, New York, Maine and Massachusetts. Nothing from North Carolina – or the rest of the South, for that matter.
The year 1900 was just thirty-five from Appomattox where General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union General U.S. Grant. Many Confederate veterans were still living. They and their families were not yet ready to celebrate the Yankee holiday. That would have to wait until World War I when the Rebel veterans’ grandsons became Doughboys and sailed off to Europe to fight the Hun. Those Southern veterans of the American Expeditionary Force under General John Pershing resurrected Fourth of July parades, concerts and firework displays in cities and towns in the South.
For some, it may be hard to believe that the South went for more than fifty years without generally celebrating the nation’s birthday. Many preferred to celebrate the Lost Cause. Bitterness dies slowly and painfully.
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I’m now writing a Civil War novel titled Blessed Shadows Deep and Dark. The plot centers on a teenage Confederate soldier from Duplin County, North Carolina, who joins up with the Wilmington regiment – the 18th North Carolina, famous for accidentally shooting and wounding General Thomas Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. Jackson died a few days later. The novel has elements of historical fiction, romance, and fantasy.
An ebook publisher in business since 2001 has published my fantasy genre trilogy, Larenia’s Shadow. Through the three novels the plot entwines the lives of an aristocratic family with a sword imbued magical powers. Dragons, elves, dwarves, princes, thieves… you’re find them in my novels, The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. Where can you purchase them? Where else? The websites of Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.