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On a date that occurred over 231 years ago today (December 7, 1787), Delaware (my birth state) came into being. Because of figures like George Reed, Gunning Bedford, Jr., John Dickinson, and Richard Bassett, there's such a thing as Delaware. The vote for Delaware to be a state stood as unanimous, 30 to zero. Now, some will say that the First State claims its moniker based on a technicality. History proves this to be wrong as evident by the fact that Virginia was the first colony, but not the first state.
But Delaware gets no respect like the late great comic Rodney Dangerfield seemed to never receive (if it is even recognized at all). Most people who visit the state, and even some of its inhabitants, wear t-shirts and sip from cups reading “Delawhere?” This pun is cute and playful, but it also undermines the might and strength of the Small Wonder. Thomas Jefferson called Delaware the “Diamond State,” saying that it is a jewel among other states. This is true to this day. Delaware’s placement vis-à-vis surrounding states is that it is a hub of sorts for travelers, a powerhouse for chemicals, banking, and credit card companies, and for healthcare. So, why all of the subjective hate? Delaware’s ratification of the Constitution set in motion the days of the uproarious party that would be the United States of America. The people who state that America is a slaughterer, slaver, butcher, and a land of denying rights, spout this drivel and are alive, free, safe from danger, and possess rights. Delaware stands as the very beginning of all of the beauty that America stands for today. However, the date that currently lives in infamy has derailed most attempts to bring Delaware to levels of respect that it deserves.
On a Sunday morning on December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked a Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (of whom I’m not a supporter) decided to call this date one of the worst days in American history up to that point. Now, it’s not anyone’s fault, except for the Japanese who would be battled in the Pacific, and in actions including the Doolittle Raid in Tokyo and on the mainland in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the first implementation of nuclear weapons in human history. That was way back during a period when foreign policy of the United States actually had some sort of spine. But the tiny state of Delaware took a hit. Instead of being like the Fourth of July, the state that gets no respect forever will be overshadowed by the events that occurred 77 years ago as of this writing. Where there should be jubilation and cheer, the day is reserved for solemnity and quiet reverence. Pearl Harbor’s serious tone and Delaware’s somewhat unknown status among other states, especially those that surround it (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia) continues to have its birthday downplayed.
Yet, it is time for this sheet to be lifted off of this roadster sitting in the garage. While we must never forget the carnage and the heroism that occurred on that morning in 1941, December 7 should be held in esteem as the initial state became part of the Union. If the date is recognized for its origination, then statewide school and business closings, sales, and concerts, and other festivities would take precedence. There would be joviality and uplift during this time. The memory of statesmen like Caesar Rodney and Thomas McKean would be recounted and spoke of with import to teach old and young, alike.
This all could happen. All it would take would be for a few pen strokes to ensure that the diminutive state would be showcased and displayed as the great state that it is. So, happy birthday, Delaware. And never forget Pearl Harbor.