Maybe it is because spring is in the air. Maybe it is because we all have cabin fever from being cooped up all winter. Whatever the cause, the effect is that history seems to happen in April - at least American history does. That's not to discount other months, of course. Pearl Harbor was attacked three weeks before Christmas and D-Day occurred on June 6 - and the Muslim terrorists - or whatever the politically correct term-of-the-day is for the human garbage that flew airplanes into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and the Pennsylvania countryside in 2001 - chose September to carry out their dastardly deeds.
Be that as it may, some big stuff has happened in April. Really big stuff.
It was on the 18th day of April for instance, that Paul Revere set out from Boston to warn the Minutemen that the British Regulars were out and about - headed to Concord, in fact, to take the colonists' guns away from them - and their ammo. It was on the next day - April 19 - that "by the rude bridge that arched the flood, their flags to April breeze unfurled" the Minutemen, or at least one of them, fired the "shot heard round the world."
Big doin's that particular April. Really big doin's. A country was forged in the fire of discontent and out of rebellion grew a great nation; one that would save the world's collective rear ends more than once throughout the 20th century.
Confederate forces under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard fired on Ft. Sumter on April 12th and 13th in 1861, signaling the beginning of the War Between the States - I still say there was nothing civil about it, no matter what the history books call it. They are all printed in New York and Boston anyway.
And it was in April of 1865 that Lee surrendered to Grant. It was five days later, on Good Friday, that Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth (have you ever wondered why we always use assassins' middle names) and it was on April 26 of that same year that General Joseph Johnston surrendered the final Confederate troops in the field to William T. Sherman, ending the terrible war that had began four years earlier.
And this year, of course, we've already had a pretty historic April. North Korea has thumbed its nose at the world and launched a ballistic missile, which it claims is orbiting the Earth taking snapshots and blaring patriotic North Korean music across the universe (we claim it is at the bottom of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, respectively) and President Obama has made his first big spur-of-the-moment military decision (a good one, too) and allowed the U.S. Navy to blow away three pirates who were holding an American Merchant Marine captain hostage. "Yo ho ho" that one, pirates.
And now we have come to another pivotal April day in our nation's history, one way or the other. Today, from sea to shining sea, Americans are throwing Tea Parties in protest of the way our elected officials are throwing away our money - yes "our" money, yours and mine.
You see, the federal government doesn't have any funds of its own. When Congress wants to spend money it has to borrow it or confiscate it from us, the people. You and me. And when the government borrows money it eventually has to pay it back with money that it confiscates from the people.
Congress doesn't spend Congress's money, y'all. Congress spends our money. Mine and yours. And they have done a particularly poor job of it lately - and you all know what word I wished I could have used instead of "particularly."
I'm not just talking about the current Congress, either. It's been going on a while, but now it is getting - or has gotten - completely out of hand. Completely. And a lot of us believe that it is time for "we, the people" to remind our elected officials who it is that does the hiring and firing in this country - thus the Tea Parties, which are intended to be symbolic, of course, of the big to-do that occurred in Boston in December - not April - of 1773, when those early patriots tossed several tons of East India tea into Boston Harbor to express their displeasure at the amount of control the British Crown was assuming over their lives.
Believe it or not, the Boston Tea Party was not about taxes. It was about control. Parliament had actually done away with the tax on tea - for one company - giving that company a virtual monopoly on the tea business. The colonists, who were already fed up with taxes, didn't feel like they could tolerate another indignity at the hands of the British government. And one thing led to another and the British came looking for the guns and ammo - the better to control you my dear - and the rest, as they say, is history.
Which brings us back to today. It remains to be seen if April 15, 2009, will go down in history as the day when the great rank and file of Americans - was it Nixon who referred to the Great Silent Majority? - stood up and made themselves heard - or if it was just another tax day when Americans found it easier to sit back and watch their freedom and their liberty - not to mention their hard-earned money - continue to drift away.
Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.